Pixar’s ’Soul’ powerful, but not perfect


Disney Pixar

Pixar’s “Soul” will appeal to adults as well as to kids.

Violet Chace, Entertainment Editor

“Soul,” released to theaters and Disney Plus last month, follows the story of Paul, a band teacher aspiring to become a more successful piano player. When he finally gets the gig of his dreams, he finds himself separated from his body and about to enter “The Great Beyond.” With the help of a new soul named 22 who hates the idea of life, Paul has to find his way back into his body before he misses his gig.

Oddly, for a movie with a trailer based around jazz and soul music, the soundtrack proves to be a letdown. There are only a few scattered scenes where people are shown playing their instruments. There should have been a stronger focus on including soul music in more aspects of the film to really embody the powerful genre of music being represented in “Soul.”

Pixar is attempting to be more inclusive by featuring black protagonist, but the film would have been better if its writers had included more Black culture. Though “Soul” is a step in the right direction, it still contains racist Hollywood tropes. Just like in other films such “Emperor’s New Groove,” “Brother Bear,” and “Princess and the Frog,” “Soul” fails to keep the person of color who is the protagonist human for the entirety of the film. Not only does Paul spend a good portion of the film as a soul separated from his body, but he spends another large portion of “Soul” in the body of a cat. This is done to make protagonists in film more relatable to White audiences and is inherently racist. 

Overall, “Soul” is well made. The animation style is fun and manages to represent the setting of a busy city beautifully. The unique art choices in “The Great Beyond” also add a layer of originality and beauty. 

Pixar is always sure to make adult viewers enjoy their movies too. “Soul” throws in fun history references and commentary on adult life. All the jokes in the film make it impossible not to crack a smile, but some of the references are a fun gem for older audience members.

The powerful themes about life and death in “Soul” inspire audiences to think and view the world from new perspectives. Even though these themes have been explored plentifully in cinema in countless films, it’s unusual for a children’s cartoon. Some of the concepts may go over younger kids’ heads, but film’s fun concept translates great on screen and is definitely worth the watch.