Saturday, 2 January 2021

Pixar's Soul Review

 "A spark isn’t a soul’s purpose!"

"Oh, you mentors and your passions. Your purposes, your meanings-of-life. So basic."

OH GOD, PIXAR! You've made it again! How many films can make you see, feel and wonder what’s the value of day to day, minute to minute of life moments that make up your existence? Exceptionally rare. That's what makes Soul truly a masterpiece. Soul wants you to stop a moment, ponder how you're living your life now. Soul is written and directed by Pete Docter again, who brought us various masterpieces in the past such as Inside Out, Toy Story, Monsters Inc, WALL-E, Up.

Pixar's greatest achievement always has been the capability to incorporate themes that hit with both adults and kids, making family movies in the sense that parents can take their kids to these movies, being wowed by the deeper themes within and bizarrely not wanting to leave (not like the feeling where they're just here for the kids for them to enjoy cartoons and have fun).

Director Pete Docter always shows us things we tend to overlook as we grow older, inspire by imbuing us with imaginations we couldn't possibly expect. Soul introduces two memorable leads from different realms, Joe Gardner and 22, who clash and meet together to embark themselves on an emotional journey that will surely make you pause and ponder the smaller, finer details in life, what you want to do and are you making the right choices to get there.

Joe is a 40 something, part-time music teacher who lives in New York City school who lives in regret as he never had the chance to get his big break as a successful Jazz pianist. 22, an unborn soul, who's already very world-weary without ever having lived yet, doesn't want to be born on Earth, as she puts it: "Don't worry, you can't crush a soul here (cosmic wonderland called the "Great Before"), that's what life on Earth is for..." Joe is the character that asks the real questions the entire time and 22 is the one who shows the answers.

Soul has brilliant imaginative concepts for the afterlife, seemingly giving freedom to the creative teams to create anything they want here, such as how lost souls would look like and behave, where unborn souls are being placed and given fixed core personalities before ready to Earth to be born, how mystics gather when they're in a trance and visit the ethereal afterlife and so many more. Soul introduces a cosmic wonderland, The "Great Before", where unborn souls are being prepared by cosmic entities to be born to Earth once they figure out their "spark", that ultimately gives each unborn soul their individual meaning and purpose. 

This "soul-searching" emotional journey between these two characters will force us adults to reflect what our lives has been, by reaching deep to our inner self and ask things in life, much like 22, who's unable to find her "spark" as she's being brainwashed and convinced she's wrong and she'll never be good enough when she was completely right avoiding Earth because of them, no pun intended (laughing). On the other hand, Joe spent all his entire life, chasing a dream, without realizing what he had sacrificed. As the story progresses, you'll realized that these very two misguided souls are the ones who desperately in need of guidance, from each other.

Soul is a story that goes straight to your very inner soul. It has a lot of mature themes about the regrets in life, finding your meaning and purpose, noticing and appreciating the finer details in life. Although the astounding creative visuals and comedic, lighthearted animation will surely entertain the kids, but they won't be able to contemplate the existential themes that are presented here yet, until they're old enough to be adults, made monumental decisions in life that provoke them years later to reflect upon whether they've wasted time by placing importance on the wrong aspects of living. That's what Soul really is. In essence, adults are probably the ones who will benefit the most after watching this film.

To reiterate again, Soul is a profound, deep, heartfelt, soulful, meaningful masterpiece. Highly recommended! Not to be missed! 

Rating: 9/10