Disney’s “Soul” presents a enjoyable, thought-provoking, but ultimately contradictory, tale

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Disney, Pixar, Fair Use

“Soul” depicts the human fear of an unfulfilled life.

Nate Charles, Staff Writer

“Soul” is Disney’s newest animated original movie, which depicts the human fear of an unfulfilled life.

The movie introduces us to Joe Gardner, a part-time middle-school band teacher who still has aspirations to become a musician. The movie explains the challenge many adults face: giving up their dreams for financial security. Mr. Gardner is offered a full-time job at the middle school, but his old student offers him a chance to play at the club with Dorothea Williams, a renowned saxophone player. The movie does a nice job with Mr. Gardner’s mom as a voice of reason to attempt to make Joe realize how important financial stability is, yet the allure of his dream is too strong.

Mr. Gardner finds himself dead from falling down a sewer hole after the first rehearsal as soon as his dream is finally becoming a reality. As he is heading towards the light he realizes he is not ready to die, which is where the movie truly begins. Joe desperately tries to return to earth and fulfill his dream; however, he physically can’t now that he is just a soul.

Joe’s soul enters the mentor program for distinguished souls like Mother Theresa and is tasked with finding a new soul’s “spark.” The spark is supposed to be something that completes the soul like a passion or hobby. Joe meets the trouble-making soul number 22, who has had multiple mentors and has still not found its spark. 22 has no interest unlike the other souls to go to earth so it is willing to give the completed earth pass to Gardner which is needed to return to earth and his body. This sets up the majority of the storyline, which is to find 22’s spark, but they try everything and nothing works so they attempt an unorthodox approach and end up on Earth.

The movie has great animation with intricate character design and good contrast between very vibrant colors and more monotone pallets. The character’s personalities all shine and lead to an engaging cast. Given it is a Disney animated movie it is tailored for a wide audience with the theme of life regrets and for the younger generations a funny heart-aching adventure. Disney made a great movie to subconsciously teach children there’s more to life than money and living a boring repetitive life. However, I believe the ending detracts from the main message of the movie since Mr. Gardner has finally gained a strong resolution by coming to terms with his life and Disney chose to take his resolve away and make the movie more child friendly.