To kick off the new year, I had screened the latest Disney/Pixar release – Soul. There is a reason why this movie is so highly rated and if you haven’t watched it yet, do yourself a favor and see it to possibly glean some much needed inspiration that’s especially great at the precipice of this new year…. heck this new decade.
Alright, now the title (and trailer) is highly suggestive of Jazz and its a very good jumping off point especially with the topic that they really want to tackle with this movie. You might say that it is passion or, as the movie constantly calls it out – purpose, but I believe it is much more lenient towards “living” or more specifically, “living in the moment”.
When our protagonist “dies” the first time, the introduction of the spirit world was quite the sight – it was a simple mix of colors, and every one of them “souls” were exhibiting some sort of chromatic aberration which is a really nice and subtle touch that is extremely technical but really effective in conveying the brightness of each individual on that conveyor and eventually at “the great before”.
The transfer that happened when Roy got off the belt and dropped into “the great before” might be a bit seizure inducing but just for a short while. When he lands, its a visual treat from there on out – the new souls and the theoretical constructs which looks to have been lifted from some of Picasso’s paintings are so uniquely identifiable.
The general speed of the narrative is easily followed even though it felt a little bit fast, nothing is rushed and everything is given enough context so that the viewer is never lost as to which area of the spiritual world Roy or 22 was in on at any point in time.
There is a little bit of issue that I can think of, depending on the viewer profile, that this movie might have been pushing out which is something along the lines of complacency. While it certainly was not the highlight of the movie, because you do travel within the different levels of the spiritual world through a variety of mental states – examples of various “spiritually accomplished” individuals can be found throughout the movie. It is saying somewhat that it is ok to be in that position.
The movie immediately counters this though with the eventual achievement for the protagonist of his lifelong dream. One of the more memorable conversations happen during this time with the answer to what’s next being a pretty good story about a young fish and an old fish having a talk:
YF: Can you point me to the direction of the ocean?
OF: You’re already swimming in it.
YF: But… this is just water… I want to see the ocean.
It was a pretty simple parable with quite the moral whichever side of the coin you might choose to relate to.
All in all, Soul is a fantastic addition to the roster of original stories that have come out from both Disney and Pixar… totally in tune with the times as well providing a much needed outlook framing that is definitely tuned in to many individuals especially during the thick of this pandemic.
A recommended watch, rewatch, and archive for sure.