Pixar has this incredible track record of releasing films that combine great storytelling with outstanding animation. For them, it’s always about the story that takes audiences to worlds they’ve never been to. Films like Inside Out and Coco have done that. And it looks like they have done it again with Soul from director Pete Docter, which stars Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey.
A teaser trailer has arrived today for the film. In it, audiences will be taken to a world where our personality and souls are developed long before we step foot on this earth. And there will be some catchy music to go along with it as globally renowned musician Jon Batiste is writing original jazz music for the film and Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network) are creating an original score. Check out the trailer below.
Soul asks some pretty big questions about who we are and what we were ultimately meant to do. Though that is profoundly deep, I can’t imagine a film answering that question. But it isn’t outside of Pixar’s wheelhouse to explore these heavy themes and present it in an honest and fun way.
The film introduces Joe Gardner (Foxx), a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz. Of Joe, co-director Kemp Powers said:
“I think Joe is having that crisis that all artists have. He’s increasingly feeling like his lifelong dream of being a jazz musician is not going to pan out and he’s asking himself ‘Why am I here? What am I meant to be doing?’ Joe personifies those questions.”
In our previous coverage, we’ve seen that Gardner is able to achieve that dream and is so excited about what he was able to accomplish that he is completely oblivious to everything that is going around him as he walks down the streets of New York City. While he is able to avoid all the dangerous city life like falling debris, construction, and moving cars, the one thing that leads to his death is not seeing an open manhole.
His soul is then sent to “You Seminar,” the fantastical place where we all discover our unique personalities, and encounters 22 (Fey), who is described as “a soul who doesn’t think life on Earth is all it’s cracked up to be.” As Joe travels throughout the cosmos to return home to the physical plane, he will find out what it truly means to have a soul.
The film’s New York City setting will embody the idea that it is the city where dreams do come true, while weaving in jazz music from Batiste and using a score from Reznor and Ross. Saying that that is an interestingly dynamic musical pairing would be a vast understatement. But it is all the more reason why I am looking forward to Soul.
Here’s what Docter had to say about the film’s music and setting work in tandem:
“I grew up with Peanuts cartoons and the Vince Guaraldi music. I feel like it’s coursing through my veins and this is our version of that. Jon Batiste is a fantastic musician—he’s a historian yet is able to push the music forward, bringing all these different influences to the work. I sincerely hope that the jazz music in ‘Soul’ will inspire a whole new generation.”
Producer Dana Murray added:
“The contrast that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross bring is really exciting. It’s an unexpected choice for Pixar—this is like nothing we’ve ever done before.”
Soul also stars Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson as Curly, with Phylicia Rashad voicing Joe’s mother, and Daveed Diggs voicing Paul, Joe’s nemesis. It opens in theaters on June 19, 2020.