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Pixar movie Soul soars as new Disney masterpiece


     On Monday, Jan. 18, I decided to watch Pixar’s latest movie, Soul, and it was probably the best decision I made this new year.

          Soul is an animated film about a jazz pianist named Joe Gardner who unexpectedly dies and finds himself stuck in The Great Beyond, where souls line up to enter the afterlife. Fearing that he was about to miss his big shot to become a famous jazz player, he tries with all his might to escape death and go back to Earth. Throughout the entire movie, Joe is convinced that his existence had no purpose or meaning and the only thing that could fix that is returning to Earth and becoming a big time jazz player. I think this is a good example of how one’s feelings about life might get confused along the way. However, I feel like this might be  difficult for little kids to comprehend.

          He soon finds himself in a place called The Great Before, where souls that have not yet been sent to Earth develop their characteristics, personalities and hobbies. In The Great Before, he is mistaken for a mentor that is assigned to Soul 22 to fill out her badge and help find her “spark,” which is the last piece to making up a souls personality -basically their inspiration. Soul 22 is unlike all the other souls because she has been in The Great Before for centuries, unable to find her spark and scared to transition to Earth and live a real life. This character helps me relate to the movie a lot better because she is kind of scared of the future and so am I. I’ve never planned anything in my life and it is nice to see a Disney character that is a little frightened for what’s next instead of jumping into battle or a new adventure every week. Eventually, Soul 22 and Joe devise a plan to get Joe back to Earth in time for his Jazz audition. 


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          However, things go south when Soul 22 is also dragged down to Earth and accidentally falls into Joe’s body and Joe falls into a cat. This gives a whole new take on how a soul from a human and a soul from a cat have the same nature at heart. This also portrays a hilarious interaction with Joe trying to get used to life as a cat and Soul 22 trying to figure out how to act human. It also gives a lighthearted feel to the movie instead of the urgency that is being used in the rest of the movie. 

           This brings on a whole new set of problems on how to return Joe’s soul to his body. There is also a celestial being, Terry, who is the movie’s antagonist and an accountant who counts souls going to The Great Beyond. She hunts Joe and Soul 22 in an attempt to restore the balance of The Great Beyond, which is important so that sould can’t just go wandering through different dimensions or try to go back to Earth. Soul 22 begins to find her spark through living Joe’s life she starts to try and find her spark. After a while, Joe and Soul 22 finally find Moonwind, another soul who helps Joe return to his body. In that moment, when Moonwind is just about to switch Joe’s soul back into his body, Soul 22 decides she wants to stay on Earth to find her spark. However, soon after that, Terry locates them on the street and brings them back to The Great Before. It is shown that during her time on Earth, Soul 22 finds her spark but does not know what it is. Joe insists he is the reason she found her spark and out of anger throws her badge, which makes up a souls personality and lets them go to Earth, at him so he can go back to Earth and live the rest of his life and finally have purpose through playing the piano. However, Joe finds out that a spark isn’t what gives a person their purpose; it only means a soul is ready to live. Your purpose is what you make it through life and Joe realizes it's the little things and the people he loves that give his life meaning. This point in the story is very pivotal. It changes the entire plot from Joe thinking he needs a new chance at life to become a famous jazz player, into Joe realizing it’s his relationships with the people in his life that give him purpose. I think this is an amazing point to make to kids early. It’s not about material things that you have in life it’s about how you treat others and live with compassion. This is such a huge message to bring to young viewers. Sadly, it is too late to explain this to Soul 22, and she begins to think that without her spark her life had no purpose. Therefore, she became a lost soul. This gave the movie a gloomy feel, it shows Soul 22 losing all motivation to find her spark or what makes her happy. As I said before, this could be a little difficult for younger kids to understand. Overall this movie shows a deep and hilarious bond between a centuries old soul and a forty something year old jazz teacher. If you like Pixar’s Inside Out, you will love Soul.  This movie really inspired me, it really made me think about living my life to the fullest. It gives a very real and unique interpretation of what happens before and afterlife and I highly recommend others viewing.

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