What’s your spark?
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Soul is the feel-good film that we need during this time as it reminds viewers that we should pursue our passions and appreciate life.
During most of last year, movie theatres were closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. A lot of films were delayed to this year; some films went straight to streaming and some movies were released both in theatres and on streaming services. I had to experience these films the Netflix way: at home. Films experienced in a movie theatre have a different impact though.
A few films were released during the holiday season, and they were mainly put out by Netflix (which released a new film every week). A highly anticipated film that I saw during the winter break is Pixar’s Soul, which was released straight to Disney+ on Christmas Day. When I watched it, I said it was better than I thought it would be and I think it is one of the best films of last year.
Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a New York City middle school music teacher who inspires his students with music. Gardner is trying to make it big in the jazz scene, but after he gets an opportunity to perform with a famous jazz band in a club, he falls in a pothole and lands as a soul in “the great beyond”: a place where recently deceased souls keep their personalities and traits. Trying to get back to Earth, he falls off the path and lands in “the great before” where souls are trained before they go to Earth. He then meets a soul named 22 (Tina Fey) who does not want to experience life and Joe mentors her to find her spark. At the same time, both characters learn about purpose. Tina Fey was playing herself—just like Bill Murray playing himself in the 2020 movie On the Rocks. The film is directed by Pete Docter—who also directed Monsters Inc., Up, and Inside Out. Soul is like a spinoff sequel to Inside Out.
Soul has the charm that you would expect from Pixar. Both scenes that take place in New York City, and “the great before” (where it has 2D animation scenes) are fantastic. The film’s score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross sounded like an alternative score of Stranger Things with a hint of Bob Dylan’s sound—also accompanied by jazz music composed by Jon Batiste. The subwoofer was used a lot during the scenes in “the great before”—and “the great beyond” scenes were so bright that the whole theatre would be white if I saw this film at the cinema.
Hopefully this film will be released in theatres when the pandemic ends because watching it in 3D would make the film more exciting. Soul is the feel-good film that we need during this time as it reminds viewers that we should pursue our passions and appreciate life. An enjoyable hobby can spark life. Soul is available on Disney+.