Original Content podcast: Pixar’s ‘Soul’ offers a lively visit to pre-pandemic New York
For the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we looked back at “Soul,” which was released on Disney+ at the end of last year.
The new Pixar film tells the story of Joe Gardner, a high school music teacher and jazz musician voiced by Jamie Foxx. Joe seems to be on the verge of his big break when he accidentally falls down an open manhole, sending him to a distinctly Pixar-ish twist on the afterlife, and eventually on a metaphysical quest to return to his body before an important concert..
Anthony has been wanting to talk about “Soul” for a while — it was easily his favorite movie of 2020, but he watched it right after we recorded our discussion of the best streaming content of 2020.
And if you’re worried that this is nothing more than 40 minutes of praise, well … you’re not entirely wrong. Both of us liked it a lot, appreciating both its vibrant (and in retrospect, melancholy) portrayal of New York City life before pandemic lockdowns and social distancing, as well as its inventive portrayal of the worlds our souls go to before we’re born and after we die. (It was so inventive that Jordan had to wonder whether any unusual substances may have been involved in its genesis.)
Still, we did acknowledge some of the criticism of “Soul,” particularly certain viewers’ disappointment that even though it’s the first Pixar film with a Black protagonist, Joe actually spends a large portion of the film as a disembodied blue spirit — entertaining from a story perspective, but not quite an unambiguous victory for representation.
You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)
If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:20 “Soul” review
18:35 “Soul” spoiler discussion