Disney Pixar’s Soul: Joe Gardner teaches existentialism to small children

Jamie Foxx as the voice of Joe Gardner in Disney/Pixar's Soul
Jamie Foxx as the voice of Joe Gardner in Disney/Pixar’s Soul. Pic credit: Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar has dropped the latest trailer for their upcoming animated movie Soul, which features an upbeat tone and Jazzy energy to the footage. The film has Jamie Foxx as the voice of Joe Gardner, who happens to be a music teacher for middle school kids.

But the most intriguing aspect of the footage is that it continues a bizarre trend that Pixar seems to keep throwing at kids. Whether it’s on purpose or unwittingly, Pixar has a strange fascination with placing themes of mortality and existence in their films, and this one is no different.

In the preview, we hear Foxx’s character Joe Gardner tell his students,

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“We only have a short time on this planet. You want to become the person you were born to be. Don’t waste your time on all the junk of life. Spend your precious hours doing what will bring out the real you, the brilliant passionate you that’s willing to contribute something meaningful to this world.”

And shortly after all this inspirational voiceover, the animated character falls in a manhole, followed by him seeing himself as a soul. And all this remains portrayed in a catchy upbeat manner.

And as the premise describes, his soul is sent to a “You Seminar” where it will get refurbished and find passions before getting a new life.

Check out the trailer for Disney Pixar’s Soul below:

Soul | Official Teaser Trailer

There’s nothing wrong with giving kids a grown-up message. Some of the greatest animated films ever made are timeless because they did not treat children like they were idiots.

Movies like The Lion King, Dumbo, even Bambi all dealt with undertones of tragedy and death. Even The Incredibles can be viewed as a film about marriage struggles.

One has to wonder, though, who exactly is having the midlife crisis at Pixar. The last two Toy Story films have dealt heavily with questions of maintaining a purpose in life as well as life expiration.

The Forky character was a terrifying existential creation that still haunts me now. That character would require an essay all by himself to work out all the disturbing questions it raises for the Pixar universe.

That said, strange dark thematic elements aside, Soul looks to be a worthwhile original film from the animated studio. Pete Doctor of Inside Out is directing, and so far, all his movies have been great.

With musical talents like Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as well as Jon Batiste writing original music for the film, Soul should be on everyone’s priority lists come next year.

Disney Pixar’s Soul hits theaters on June 19, 2020.

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