Disney and Pixar’s latest film, “Soul,” was released on Jan. 20. “Soul” is an animated comedy-drama film about a jazz pianist who faces a near-death experience and gets caught in the afterlife, where he contemplates his life’s choices and regrets decisions that he made in the past. Starring Daveed Diggs as the voice actor for the main character Paul and Jamie Foxx as the voice actor for character Joe Gardner, Pixar Animation Studio’s latest movie has been receiving worldwide attention.
“I watched Soul with my friend last weekend,” Rachel Lee (12), an avid fan of Disney films, said. “The film emphasizes that we don’t go into life with a set purpose, but that we create meaning in our lives through the memories we have. The movie prompted me to think about seemingly insignificant memories in my life and appreciate the little things a bit more.”
“Soul” is the studio’s first movie that centers around an African American main character after long controversy regarding the lack of diversity in characters in animation films. The film also portrays and celebrates African American culture, specifically making ties to jazz history, as the film’s lead character Joe Gardner is a jazz pianist. To accurately reflect African American culture in the movie, Pixar proceeded to create an internal culture trust involving Pixar employees who are black, in addition to hiring consultants who helped carry out this process.
“Soul was a movie that contained various messages and references to African American culture,” Soomin Kim (12), another fan of movies, said. “I thought that the use of an African American main character was a new step in Pixar’s films, and the cultural references were what made the movie more entertaining.”
Along with the attention the movie received for featuring their first black protagonist, “Soul” has also been garnering recognition for its overall message incorporated throughout the film. Although the movie may appear to be solely a light-hearted animation, viewers have commented on its deep message on life. Through the journey of protagonist Joe Gardner, “Soul” highlights how life itself is a blessing despite the fact that it may not always go as planned, and how one should always appreciate the precious, little moments that they experience.