Joe Gardner, an already middle-aged school music teacher, dreamed of performing on stage with a jazz ensemble all his life. One day he successfully auditioned for a famous club singer and, returning home overjoyed, falls into the hatch and dies. Now Joe has one road – to the Great After, but he escapes from the escalator going into eternity and accidentally ends up in the Great Do. Here new souls find themselves, and hobbies, dreams and interests arise in future people. Joe becomes the mentor of a stubborn soul 22, which for many centuries has not been able to find its spark and go to Earth.
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When watching a cartoon, you rarely ask yourself philosophical questions. Where do people get their personality? Is there such a thing as “destiny”? For centuries, philosophers, theologians and psychologists have tried to formulate a particular vision of this issue. Interestingly, Pixar’s main inspiration, Pete Docter, has joined the long list of people looking for meaning in life – the person behind non-standard animated films like Puzzle and Up. This time, Docter continued to think through an intuitive metaphor for the meaning of life in Soul, a bold metaphysical drama about what drives the human personality. Of course, it can be ironic for a long time that Pixar cartoons tell about objects whose souls suddenly hatch (toys, “cars”, etc.), but this time, excuse the tautology, the soul was found in the soul, however, let’s put aside the bad irony : a simple yet ambitious film contains worldly wisdom.
Soul begins with the death of the unlucky protagonist, school music teacher Joe Gardner. Disappointed in his life, the pianist had just auditioned for the accompaniment of the famous jazz singer, and now, he fell into an open sewer manhole. Not exactly an optimistic start for a children’s cartoon. However, “Soul” in many ways does not play by the rules: instead of going to Heaven, Joe in a new guise, similar to the ghost of Casper, finds himself in a place where new souls are preparing for life on Earth. Now he needs to go to Earth to fulfill his dream.
Pixar’s film shapes the afterlife in an abstract form and does the almost impossible: revitalizes theoretical phenomena whose existence lies in the mystical realm of being, and at the same time endows each of them with personification. In the Doctor’s scenario, souls, before going to Earth, participate in seminars and communicate with mentors in order to find their spark – a talent or disposition, which at a certain moment in life will lead to the goal of a lifetime. During his journey through this beautiful place, Joe’s spirit meets the Twenty-Second – a soul that languishes in this “dressing room” of existence for hundreds of years and cannot find its spark in any way. From Archimedes to Mother Teresa, these outstanding people never helped Twenty-two find their destiny.
Of the many innovative (and even adventurous) Soul ideas, one of the most unexpected is the claim that there is such a thing as being overly focused on a dream or the meaning of life. Yes, it is quite ironic that this lesson was wanted to teach by the studio staff, who sacrifice their lives in order to create high-quality cartoons. And then Docter almost out loud (at least visually) utters another unpopular message: sometimes achieving a dream can make you feel empty. The dream, one way or another, is ephemeral: in this “Soul” came out as a work that is quite sincere and even radical. Docter says: look for happiness in the little things.
With this simplicity, “Soul” works on several levels at once. If you find fault, the thematic content here is still focused on children. Nevertheless, the perception of “Soul” by adults lies beyond clever jokes and references: here it is precisely a metaphysical interpretation based on the questions that an adult asks one way or another. “Soul” avoids both moralizing and overly depressing connotations. And, interestingly, there is no antagonist in the script: most of the picture is built on the relationship between Twenty-Second and Joe, i.e. the deprivation of the plot of the villain rather played on a positive in the narrative and strengthened the emotional core, erasing the beaten paths of plot that could be used.
âSoulâ sets itself incredibly high goals and, alas, cannot always achieve them. For example, in an animated film, there are several unfinished storylines: the closer we get to the climax in which the main lesson is going to be taught, the more confusing it is in the context of the plot. There is so much in “Soul” that one can enjoy and reflect, and not analyze the script elements and subtleties of the subtext: nevertheless, this tape lies more precisely in the subconscious plane.
Almost a parable about life and death, which children of primary school age will not understand due to their age, but they will still be able to enjoy it: a bright animated drama is difficult to explain from the point of view of meaning and plays on emotions. This must be the case when watching, when a child and an adult get the same impressions, only the older viewer can explain why he feels it, and the child how he feels it. Pixar reached the pinnacle of animation, musical accompaniment, jokes, a sincere representation of life’s problems and experiences, but at times, with messages about the pursuit of a dream and a spark of life, they were too clever: subtlety is useless here. Existential crises can be overwhelming, although there is so much to enjoy in Soul: just a touch of regret for lack of courage and overly neat philosophy.
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
English: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, Spanish.