Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022

Jamie Foxx plays high school music teacher Joe Gardner in Pixar’s Soul

A high school music teacher on the brink of a big break takes an unexpected detour through the afterlife in Soul, the latest animated film from Pixar. Based on the trailer, it looks like: Soul will place a similar existential emphasis on depicting highly abstract views of human consciousness and the afterlife as Pixar’s Inside out (2015) and cocoa (2017).

Directed by Pete Docter (Inside out, upSoul features the vocal talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs and Questlove. According to the official synopsis:

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a high school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But a small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastic place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (Tina Fey), who has never understood the allure of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show what’s great about life, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.

Docter told Entertainment Weekly last November that the film is “an exploration of, what should you focus on? What are the things that at the end of the day are really going to be the most important things you look back on,” I brought a worthy part of my limited time on Earth by worrying or concentrating on it’?”

Apparently the folks at Pixar chose to make the main character a musician rather than a scientist (the original plan), because they “wanted a profession to be practiced by the public” and thought a scientist”[didn’t feel] as naturally pure as a musician’s life.” (Musicians are cool, but it must be said that this is a very unfair, false characterization of scientists.)

The trailer opens with an adorable blue blob-like rendering of Joe’s soul falling through pitch-black darkness and landing in a mysterious place. There are a few more blue blobs there to greet him, and he introduces himself. “Today started out as the best day of my life,” Joe tells them after successfully auditioning to play on the Half Note. But as he excitedly tells the news on his phone, he falls into an open manhole. “It must have been sudden for you,” one of the blobs says sympathetically. Joe soon realizes that he and a bunch of other souls will enter the Great Beyond (presumably Heaven) via a long staircase, but he panics and insists he isn’t done with his life yet.

And then he falls from the heavenly stairs and ends up in the Great Past. (Docter is clearly playing with geometric dimensions in this movie, which makes for some cool animated sequences.) There he meets 22, who really, really doesn’t want to go to Earth. “You miss the pleasures of life. Like pizza,’ Joe insists, but he finds it’s impossible to understand this, since everyone in the Great Former is all incorporeal, with no sense of smell or taste, for example. And that “slice” of pizza that Joe “eats” in the Great Beyond just comes out the other side.

When Joe discovers he isn’t technically dead – alone in a coma in a hospital bed – Joe asks 22 to help him return to his earthly body. He only needs to pass before the entities controlling the ‘soul count’ realize why their count is suddenly out. “Is this life really worth dying for?” asks the skeptical 22. I bet Joe (and Pixar) answer with a resounding yes.

Soul opens in theaters on June 19, 2020 unless the coronavirus pandemic intervenes.

Listing image by YouTube/Pixar

By akfire1

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