On November 7, Pixar released their official teaser trailer for “Soul”, an upcoming animated feature. Following their first release of 2020, “Onward” (set for March 6 2020), “Soul” is the first Pixar film to feature an African-American protagonist. Jamie Foxx voices the lead, Joe Gardner, a music teacher whose true passion is to be a full-time jazz musician. After booking a gig that is sure to boaster his career, Joe suffers an accident where his soul is separated from his body. He is then transported to what we can assume is a purgatory of sorts where the plot then takes off. Other actors in the cast include Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad, Tina Fey and Questlove.
The trailer received both positive and negative comments, yet it generated a consensus of general interest with the look and ‘feel’ the film seems to have. The trailer opens with a variation of AJR’s “Overture” and features landscapes and sections of New York City which are absolutely beautiful. The first half of the trailer had a lot of viewers thinking that this film would follow in the vein of “Onward,” in that this will be a blunt departure from the typical Pixar formula by being set in reality and featuring a predominantly black cast. However, once the twist was revealed viewers then began to call it “Inside-Out 2.” The designs of the souls that we’ve seen look similar in essence to the main characters of “Inside-Out.” Another point that has viewers concerned is the fact that the African-American protagonist is transformed into something else, and may stay that way the majority of the film; a trend that is seen every now and again with current animated movies(“Princess and the Frog,” and the upcoming 20 Century Fox film “Spies in Disguise” were the main comparisons made). Though this teaser revealed a great deal of information, we have yet to see the full trailer, which may either confirm or deny our assumptions. Despite the criticisms let’s hope that “Soul” does subvert our expectations.
“Soul” is co-directed by Academy Award winner Pete Doctor and Kemp Powers, and is slated to premiere June 19 2020.