By Sarah Brill, Science & Technology Editor
Disney-Pixar’s latest animated film, “Soul”, debuted on Disney+ on December 25 and became an instant phenomenon. Disney is no stranger to tackling difficult subject matters, from racism in Zootopia to single parenthood in Nemo. That being said, this was not the typical Pixar movie with hints of sarcasm and comedy thrust at the audience. This time, Pixar tackled a subject matter that many mainstream television companies and movie companies can barely hold a candle too, and they did it, in my opinion with elegance and classic Disney magic.
This movie follows the life of jazz musician Joe (Jamie Foxx) who receives his first real professional gig after months working as a part-time band teacher. That dream is suddenly crushed when he falls into a pot-hole and his soul is sent on a conveyor belt to the beyond. He is helped in his journey of trying to get back to the physical world by another soul called 22 (Tina Fey). 22 must find her spark while Joe must find his way back to his body. This movie shows the audience that everyone is born with an innate gift and it is up to him or her to discover that gift and share it with the world. The movie also teaches us that even if that given spark is never expressed, one can find their own spark through truly living life. The world will constantly throw obstacles at us, and if we don’t learn to adapt we will never truly live. These themes are difficult to conquer and Disney does that by means of animated and abstract characters; as is Disney’s modus operandi.
There has been some backlash surrounding this film from people who state that it doesn’t hold the essence of Disney or that it is too mature for a Disney film. Movies are changing, but the world around us is changing too. Subjects such as divorce, conflict, betrayal, and now life after death are becoming subject matters that need to be addressed to children in an appropriate manner, and Disney does that. As a person who has recently experienced a loss, taking that hardship and placing it in a Disney setting makes the loss seem more bearable, even if it is not realistic. Who knows — maybe heaven really is controlled by a conveyor belt and birth is controlled by Picasso-style characters? Either way, this movie confronts this difficult subject matter, and I truly believe it will be of help to anyone who has experienced a loss, whether that be child or adult, or to those who themselves feel lost in this infinite world of ours.