Bring home some ‘Soul’

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

In the same way Disney/Pixar Inside Out examined what goes on within a person, the new film Soul looks at what goes on with our souls before we are born and after we die. This is an interesting look at life itself, with Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey supplying the voices for the two main characters in this inspiring animated film.

When Joe (Foxx), a school music teacher, finally lands an opportunity to play jazz with a famous quartet, he is over the moon. This is his big chance. His whole life is about jazz. Unfortunately, Joe has an accident before the show, aka gig, and his soul winds up on its way to “The Great Beyond.” Joe resists this transformation and insists on going back to his body so he can take his big chance at playing professionally.

Joe’s soul causes a bit of a problem in the other world and he gets transported to “The Great Before.” This is the place where souls are formed before they go to earth to be born in bodies. Personalities are formed here. But Joe doesn’t care about any of this. He just wants to go back to his own body.

He meets 22 (Fey) who has been a soul without a body forever. She resists everyone who tries to give her a “spark” so that she can be born. She just wants to stay in “The Great Before” and not go to earth.

Things go awry again for Joe when he finally finagles his way back to earth along with 22. The thing is, Joe’s soul gets placed in a cat and 22 gets put into Joe’s body. That’s where their experience discovering about life really begins. Joe and 22 both learn a lot and in the end, well, this is a Disney/Pixar film after all, so in the end all is right with the world.

The movie comes in a DVD, a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, and a 4K version. The Blu-ray and 4K versions include an entire additional disc with plenty of bonus features. Because the film deals with a world that no one can describe, the filmmakers had to create both “The Great Before” and the way station where souls enter “The Great Beyond.” In other words, as they say, they had to “visualize the unvisualizeable.”

The studio took on this ambitious movie. Producing an animated film about the meaning of life was unique. They used their creativity to invent their vision of where we came from. “The Great Before” is really a beautiful place filled with adorable little “noob” souls that are being prepared for life.

Another bonus looks at the sound and music in the film. And jazz musicians discuss what music means to them: expression, feeling, healing, emotion, etc.  There is an interesting look at and explanation of how an animated film gets made with some fun deleted scenes that just didn’t make it into the final film.

And with Covid taking over the planet, the final weeks of production were undertaken from the various homes of the filmmakers. That was a challenging way to work but they managed to finish with a wonderful film that has garnered plenty of praise from viewers and critics. Yes, it is deep, as far as the message is concerned. But it is also visually entertaining. And it will remind us to “live every minute” of life. “The Great Beyond” might just be an illusion created by Pixar. We just don’t know. So we should live every day to the fullest.

Soul is rated PG for thematic elements and some language.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Los Angeles Press Club and the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA.