“Soul”: The Most Soulful Movie of The Year.

Poster of Pixar's new movie Soul

Disney

Poster of Pixar’s new movie Soul

Jessica Lin, Staff Writer

When Pixar released the first trailer of “Soul,” many – including me – were taken aback at the seeming lack of originality and criticized the creators as unoriginal, as the idea seemed too similar to Pixar’s “Inside Out”.  After watching the movie, I say it’s the most original animated movie ever to be created as it hits home with its beauty and deep themes.

The tone of the story is mostly lighthearted but with dark undertones. The opening montage starts with a middle school band playing the Disney theme offkey, a most enjoyable way to start the movie, and a fantastic introduction to the main character, Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Fox). Even though Gardener teaches music at a middle school, he longs to be on stage. When the opportunity arrives to play with Dorothea Williams, a well-known jazz musician, he falls into a manhole and dies. We follow Joe to The Before, where he is tasked to mentor Soul 22 (voiced by Tina Fey). 22 hasn’t yet found their spark and hates the idea of Earth. It is Joe’s job to prepare them for life on earth where others have failed.

I was left speechless and in awe. It’s the most beautifully crafted animation ever. The lighting and the blending of the different worlds leave me breathless every time. The way every single blade of bluegrass seems to be painted and the opaqueness of the souls in  The Before (especially head soul counselors Terry and Jerry) is just stunning.

They perfectly paint the heart of New York, creating each background character with such detail reflecting the diversity of the melting pot that is New York. In each moment, if you pause, it seems like a wallpaper that people might find on their desktop. Even the little details like the flowers on Dorothea Williams’s saxophone are beautiful, not to mention the plot. The animators and creators gave the movie a soul.

The themes resonate deeply. I’ve watched “Soul” three times because it gives a sense of security. Each time I watch it, I laugh, cry, laugh, then break down in sobs. The reason the movie has that effect is that the story itself is relatable in such a stunning way. The movie talks about how passions spark life but how they shouldn’t be the meaning of it. Your “spark” could prevent you from living your life. As you work towards your goals, you forget to enjoy the moment. As Joe Gardner taught me, your life doesn’t start once you reach your dreams.