Pixar’s Soul will take us on an existential journey to find meaning in life

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Pixar have finally lifted the lid and given us the first look at their upcoming existential animated feature, Soul. It’s written and directed by Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out) and Kemp Powers, with some additional writing assistance from Mike Jones.

Jamie Foxx stars as the voice of Joe Gardner, a middle-aged music teacher who aspires to become a jazz musician. However on the eve of realising his dream a tragic misstep causes his soul to become separated from his body and transported to the “You Seminar”. There young souls develop their own personalities and passions before being assigned to a newborn child on Earth, and Joe must work with these souls – like the despondent 22 (Tina Fey) – in order to prepare them for their lives to come.

Soul also stars the voices of Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, John Ratzenberger, and Ahmir-Khalib Thompson. The talent also isn’t relegated to in front of and behind the camera, as Docter and Powers have roped in the Oscar-winning duo (for their work on The Social Network) of the decidedly not child-friendly band Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, to create the score for the movie.

The plot synopsis is conversationally broken down as follows:

Directed by two-time Academy Award®-winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award®-nominee Dana Murray, Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” opens in theaters on June 19, 2020. According to Docter, the idea for the story is 23 years in the making. “It started with my son—he’s 23 now—but the instant he was born, he already had a personality,” says Docter. “Where did that come from? I thought your personality developed through your interaction with the world. And yet, it was pretty clear that we’re all born with a very unique, specific sense of who we are.”

 “Soul” introduces Joe Gardner [Foxx], a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz. “I think Joe is having that crisis that all artists have,” says Powers. “He’s increasingly feeling like his lifelong dream of being a jazz musician is not going to pan out and he’s asking himself ‘Why am I here? What am I meant to be doing?’ Joe personifies those questions.”

In the film, just when Joe thinks his dream might be in reach, a single unexpected step sends him to a fantastical place where he’s is forced to think again about what it truly means to have soul. That’s where he meets and ultimately teams up with 22, a soul who doesn’t think life on Earth is all it’s cracked up to be. Jamie Foxx lends his voice to Joe, while Tina Fey voices 22. “The comedy comes naturally,” says Murray. “But the subtle emotion that reveals the truth to the characters is really something special.”

I’m pretty sure that’s what people call a midlife crisis, just buy a motorcycle and you’ll be fine. Let’s take a look:

What do you think, and more importantly… what do you wanna do with your life!?

Soul is due for release in the US on 19 June 2020.

Last Updated: November 8, 2019

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