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Movie Review: Pixar’s Soul: Mystic Journey To The Great Before

“1, 2, 3, 4, stay on the beat”, Pixar’s new movie Soul has been out for some time now, and let’s talk more about it. The movie did a lot of things right, and the audience fell in love with it. Well, first of all, it’s a Pixar movie, so you’d expect it to be an amazing experience, and it was. But this time around, Pixar and Disney wanted to change it up; they abandoned a ton of their older styles.

It actually seems like they are kind of experimenting right now. Soul has the company’s first-ever black lead. That itself is a revolutionary moment. With everything that has transpired recently, it’s great to see huge companies like Disney taking measures such as this.

Before we go on to review the movie, let’s first learn a little more about it.

Behind The Scenes

Soul 1

Produced by Pixar and released worldwide by Walt Disney Pictures, Soul is a computer-animated comedy movie. Pete Docter and Kemp Powers act as directors and Co-Directors, respectively. Pete Docter actually co-wrote the screenplay for this movie along with Kemp Powers and Mike Jones.

Development started for the film all the way back in 2016. With Jazz being the main influence behind the movie, the creators made sure to get every aspect of it just right. They consulted a ton of influential musicians and attended tons of band performances for the movie.

Many of the movie’s musical sessions were made about Jon Batiste’s performances. Academy award-winning musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were also the ones who composed the score of the film. Like we said, with Jazz playing such a vital role in the movie, it was an aspect they had to get just right. So by bringing such notable figures to help out, they really did a wonderful job.

From what we experience in the film Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have easily done enough work to receive another Academy Award. The film was supposed to be released in theatres all around the globe, but the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to that, So that is how it became a Disney Plus movie.

It was released on the platform for all countries; for the ones who don’t have access to the platform, Soul was released in theatres. This is Pixar’s first-ever movie that did not get itself a worldwide release.


Soul 2

The movie has such an amazing cast that did such a wonderful job in voice acting. When it comes to animated films, the voice acting is what can easily make or break it. A good voice acting performance gives the character life, that is what the animated film an experience to behold.

For Soul like we said the characters have done exceptionally well, they really gave the characters and the community they represent all the respect they deserve.

Joe Gardner the main protagonist is voiced by the one the only Jamie Foxx. Tina Fey voices 22, who is a cute soul who spends her life in The Great Before. The soul counter Terry is voiced by Rachel House. Graham Norton voices a spiritual sign twirler called Moonwind. We also have Alice Braga, Wes Studi, Donnel Rawlings, Questlove, and many more as some amazing characters.

Read: Best Upcoming Disney Movies To Watch In 2021


Joe Gardner is a middle school music teacher, but that isn’t what he wants to be at all. He wants to be a jazz musician, that’s his biggest dream. But because of financial problems and being forced by his mom, he is now teaching music to school kids.

But fate seems to have answered his call when one of his previous students calls him up to give him an opportunity to perform with Dorothea Williams, a jazz legend. he goes up to audition and everyone from the band including Dorothea is impressed and gives him a role.

Soul 3

So with his dreams finally about to be achieved Joe walks out of there a happy man and without a care in the world. But this leads to disaster as he carelessly falls down a manhole. The next thing we see is a cute blue alien-type thing riding up an escalator in space.

Then we are brought up to speed that he actually died and that now he is a soul, right now he is being taken to The Great beyond i.e death. So when Joe realizes what is happening he decides to make a run for it, so instead of running towards the light, he runs away from it.

But during his daring escape, he falls off the side and falls down, to The Great Before. This is where souls are prepared to entire the Earth and begin new lives, soul counselors are present who guide and help the new souls. Each soul needs a complete badge to be allowed to fall down to earth, there are a lot of technicalities and ways to earn the said badge.

So Joe gets mistaken for a mentor and is hence entrusted with the task of guiding a soul called 22. This soul is very much different from the others, she has the complete opposite belief. She doesn’t want to start a life at all, she wants to roam around The Great before forever.

But Joe convinces her to find her spark, which is the final trait any soul needs to go to Earth. So when she finds her spark, 22 can give Joe the badge and he can go back to Earth. on the other hand, 22 can be free and she could do whatever she wants. So this deal works for both of them. but that is when everything seems futile, 22 just can’t seem to find this spark they speak of.

that is when the both of them decide to venture into this psychedelic world called the zone. Broken and sad souls can be found here, they are referred to as lost souls. The duo meets Moonwind, the captain of a psychedelic ship of sorts. The captain decides to help Joe with his cause.

His journey seems to have finally come to an end and everything seems to have worked out fine, or so we thought. Like true Pixar fashion, stuff is just getting started. 22 was accidentally brought along with Joe and this causes a lot of problems. When they reach earth 22 takes control over Joe’s body and Joe takes control over a therapy cat.

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Stuff get crazy from here. While this is going on Terry, a soul counter finds out about a soul missing and goes out a search for him. While back in Earth 22 finally gets the hang of Joe’s body. She starts talking with people who know Joe and starts making memories for herself. she has such an amazing time and starts realizing a few things. She really starts to find happiness in the little things in life.

That is when Terry catches up with the duo and brings them back. here they realize that 22’s badge has been filled, her spark was found. Joe asks for the badge and 22 throws it at him as she leaves. Joe now quickly makes his way back to earth.

There he was able to perform at his dream show, but alas he realizes it wasn’t fulfilling in the least. Something felt off to him, doing this every day isn’t going to mean anything. he decides to go back, he realizes the selfishness in his ways.

After reaching back to the zone he sees that 22 has become a lost soul, but by reminding her of the memories they had he brings her back and gives her back the badge. Now 22 with the help from Joe makes her way to earth to start a new life. Joe on the other hand after sending off 22 gets ready to go to the great beyond.

But he is stopped by Jerry, they express their gratitude for helping to inspire them and the souls. so they give him back his life and body. joe is back but he is now a completely changed man. From the conversations, 22 had while she was being Joe, and everything that has happened over this short time, Joe realizes life is about the little things.

Stop stressing about everything and live life to its fullest, every single second you have on earth is a wonderful moment, enjoy it. That is what Joe realizes. Now with a tear in his eye and a look of a changed man Joe heads onto live a very different life.

Read: Disney Princesses the Best and Worst Ranked


The Soul movie is a wonderful new take for Pixar. We saw a lot of things that the company hadn’t previously attempted before, for example, we saw the main character die right off the bat. We also had our first ever black main character.

Another thing about the movie is the fact that it isn’t at all kid-centric, it isn’t only for the young audience. The movie and its rich story have such depth to it, this depth and the more intricate details can only be understood by the more mature audience.

But that doesn’t mean this as we said isn’t for kids, that’s the beauty of Pixar. The movie works in a special where the way in which each audience set finds it to their taste. for the kids, they have cute creatures, colors, funny faces, talking cats to enjoy. And for the more mature audience, we got like we said a rich story with elements of great music, teachings about life, and wonderful character development.

The story is so good, it’s one of the movie’s best features. The character is brought to life by the magic of Jamie Foxx and it’s written in an amazing way. The character development is on point, we go on a journey with joe as he realizes his mistakes in life. The best part is most of them are highly relatable.

Soul 5

Yes, this time around the main character’s mistakes aren’t building superweapons or blowing up a city, it’s about not appreciating the little things in life. the movie gives us a beautiful message to walk away with. The conversations Joe has with the barber and so on are so interesting and addictive. The movie really does give us a better view of life, it shows us not to take what we have for granted.

It’s not just the story. With Pixar being Pixar the animations are on another level. it’s so vibrant, the whole thing just catches the eye. You can’t pinpoint why this is, but it’s so soothing to watch the whole movie.

Now for the music part, they have done exceptionally well. Being centered around Jazz, you had to make sure the soundtrack was on point. With an Academy award-winning duo helping out and because of the work and research the company put into the sounds, it’s one of the best things about the movie.

2 vinyl records of the songs and scores from the movie were released, not just vinyl, the whole thing was also made into a digital album as well. The end credit song which is called “It’s All Right” was also released as a non-album single. This song was performed as a duet between Batiste and Celeste, a British soul singer. It was originally recorded by The Impressions.

It’s a little too hard to type out in words about how great the music is in Soul, it’s something you have to experience for yourselves. Not just the music part, when it comes to writing a review about a movie you can never completely convey how great it is. You have to experience it for yourself.


On the opening weekend, the movie grossed over 10 million dollars worldwide, with China contributing the most part of it. There weren’t any kind of mixed reviews for the movie, it was all highly positive. Pixar was praised for bringing out such a fine and ambitious existential film.

Soul went onto getting nominated and win numerous awards. An Academy award or numerous are also guaranteed.

But of all the positive reviews, there were the negative ones. Most of them pointed out the fact that Pixar hadn’t used the central Black character in the best way possible. they also talked about how they kind of rushed the ending. But none of those reviews as well were completely negative, they start out complimenting the film but just pick out some of the bad sides.

With everything that has been going on lately, Soul is a very refreshing movie to watch. The Soul movie really does feel like chicken soup for the soul. Happy Watching!

Read: 10 Best Pixar Films To Watch 

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