This week we're reviewing Soul, Pixar's twenty-third movie. It is hard to say what Soul is, a plunge into a mid-life crisis, a study in nihilism, or simply a story about a guy who figures out a bit of what is missing in his life. It follows Joe, a jazz musician who gets his dream gig and then goes on some remarkable spiritual adventures where he meets an ancient child, angers a cranky angelic accountant, and eventually answers all the questions of the universe...sort of. While surprisingly deep for a Pixar movie, and in spite of the amazing music and artistic flair, this one ended up disappointing as Joe seems to learn all the wrong lessons on his journey, and ends up at basically the same place he started the movie at, completely engrossed in his own story.
Some of the ideas that this move puts forward are these:
- Don't get so hung up on life's ambitions that you forget to stop and smell the flowers.
- Life is about more than just yourself, the people around you are what make life worth living.
- We are more than just our occupations (even though Joe doesn't seem to learn this)
After we dug into this move we decided that it isn't really a children's movie, it's more geared towards those of us who were kids when the original Pixar movies were released, as a lot of us are going through the same mid-life crisis that Joe is going through. The problem with this is that there are so many other movies that explore this idea better than Soul does, and in the end, I really just want to go watch those movies instead.
If you do share this movie with your kids, be prepared to discuss questions such as these:
- Where do we go when we die?
- Where are we before we are born?
- What is Got actually like?