Pixar’s Christmas gift to the world has finally arrived. Soul, a black-led animated film, is not only just one of Pixar’s best production, it is a deep rooted look at life itself that will undoubtedly leave an impact on audiences around the world.
Once again directed by Peter Docter alongside Kemp Powers and starring Jamie Foxx in the lead role, the film follows a musician who lost his passion for music, who is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul who is only just beginning to learn about herself.
Earlier Than Expected
It took four years to make Soul. It was initially supposed to come out in the summer of 2021 after 5 years like every other Docter film. However, it got pushed forward and the team had to scramble. In retrospect, it feels like it was a blessing because it couldn’t have come at a better time.
There is a profound message to Soul that has proven to touch a majority of its audience. Life is worth living doing what you believe is right for you. It is the perfect movie for the current pandemic. It teaches us to find out what makes us spark and to pursue our dreams before it is too late!
The Black Culture
It’s impossible to talk about Soul, a black-led animated film, without discussing racial identity, because Joe is the first Black lead character of any Pixar film. Joe is filled with the black identity. He goes into black places and has authentic black relationships that the African American community would recognize and identify.
There also seems to be a need to make sure that there are a lot of voices speaking to the authenticity of the film and its characters ergo the casting of people like Angela Bassett and Daveed Diggs in said roles. Before Coco, there weren’t really many non-white lead Pixar characters. This film undoubtedly reshaped that arc for Pixar.
Pixar Cultural Trust
Many voices, both inside and outside Pixar, shaped the course of Soul to ensure it was an authentically Black story. The studio established the Pixar Cultural Trust, a group of largely Black employees inside Pixar, including Soul story artist Michael Yates and animator Montaque Ruffin.
It’s a similar experience to how Pixar utilized Latino creatives to offer input on Coco. The goal with the Cultural Trust was to ensure the representation would be as genuine as possible, from offering notes to the story team to working with animators to properly render Black skin tones on screen.
The African American and native African culture continue to be displayed in various films worldwide. Soul has taken a bit of a twist and narrated the Black story in form of animated characters. Considering the work that has gone into the making of this historical animation, the world will, with no doubt, appreciate it.