The award for the Best Animated Feature of 2021 was given to Soul, a fantasy-comedy drama film produced by the Pixar Animation Studios. The Oscar-winning movie has made its prominent place in the audience’s heart. A movie giving visual pleasure through its graphics, and touching the souls with its story is worth giving your time to.
The Academy Awards are not the only ones, with this the movie has also earned BAFTA Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Critics’ Choice Movie Award, NAACP Image Award, and the list goes on. Along with these achievements, Soul has also broken some stereotypes being the 1st Pixar film to feature an African-American protagonist.
One can agree with the well-written plot which gave a totally another look to an animated feature, as it depicted various emotions of life. Adding to that, the musical touch given through the Jazz music made the movie more delightful for the viewers, and for a Musician, it can be more heart-touching.
Directed by Pete Docter, the movie is about a Jazz Pianist who is intensely in love with Jazz. The protagonist named Joe Gardner(voiced by Jamie Foxx) has encountered an after-death world, where only the souls live. His near-death experience gave him an insight into “Existence,” which he has taken for granted like all other beings. The twist in the plot came when Joe’s ‘dream come true moment‘ was right in front of him, and while trying to contain his excitement he falls down a manhole. And in the very next scene, spectators can encounter Joe’s soul falling on a black surface and from here, the movie satisfies its title.
With this long fall, Joe finds himself heading towards the “Great Beyond” and while trying to escape it, he manages to go to the “Great Before” where unborn souls get the learnings of life. The graphics and the background setting for the “Great Before” were visually appealing but the character of the ‘counselors’ was somewhat strange to look at, because of their two-dimensional figure. Apart from it, the fantasy world created by the graphic designers taking some factual stuff was satisfying to the eyes.
During all this time, Joe has only one aim and that was to go into his body back to earth and play his amazing gig. But here, he was mistaken for a mentor, and assigned to train 22, a cynical soul who has always lived in the Great Before and desires avoiding Earth. Seeing this opportunity, Joe found it as his way to earth. The partnership of Joe and 22 together is the main essence of the feature film. Both the characters are designed in a way to support each other and to present the best scenes for the viewers.
On one hand, Joe has been a passionate Jazz Pianist all his life and thinks of it as his “spark”, whereas on the other hand, 22 has given up on himself to find any spark ever. Both the opposite personality braces each other during the accidents they encounter, that must not be revealed here.
At last 22 found his “spark” after a lot of efforts, and he finally completed his badge which will let him come to earth. And here, Joe started to appreciate every little thing of his life. Some more drama goes on which makes both of them value their life.
Presented by Walt Disney, the animated film can connect to the viewers with its relatable concept. Be it the concept of “Existential Crisis” or “Finding the purpose of life”, some basic strings of life have been pulled by Pete Docter in the movie Soul. Further, Pixar has depicted the protagonist’s character providing minute details of a Black person’s daily life, which is worth praising. Along with it, hands down to the soundtrack for accurately portraying the Jazz music.
However, the ending was a bit abrupt, and felt like the makers of the movie were ready to pack up. The ending would have been more insightful if some dramatic parts were eliminated. Although the message of the movie can be summed up in a way that “One should not forget the essence of life, while living it” or in the language of Soul, “The Zone Is Enjoyable. But When That Joy Becomes An Obsession, One Becomes Disconnected From Life”.
Lastly, dropping an inspiring dialogue from the movie, “Life Is Full Of Possibilities. You Just Need To Know Where To Look.”