For the first time in several years, we’re getting two Pixar movies within one year. 2020 will see the release of Onward, about a magical community that’s become domesticated, in March — and then three months later, we’ll get Soul, the latest from director Pete Docter.
Pete is responsible for some of Pixar’s more eccentric ideas, and also some of its more memorable — both Up and Inside Out were his movies. Those films also had some weepy moments, and we don’t expect the trend to be ending with Soul at all…..because the main character of that film is dead.
And wait’ll you hear the circumstances. Jamie Foxx plays Joe Gardner, a middle school band director who’s tired of his job and really wants to pursue his true passion, jazz. He’s been trying to get a gig at New York’s most prestigious jazz club, The Half Note, for twenty entire years. Finally, he gets an audition at the Half Note, jumps up to the piano, and kills at it. He’s done it; he’s landed his dream gig at last! ….Then he falls into an open manhole and dies.
So what is Pixar going to reveal about the afterlife? Turns out the newly deceased have to attend mandatory classes at a place called You Seminar, where souls are trained with “all the things that make you you.” Some souls graduate earlier than others. Joe gets acquainted with one particularly crabby soul (voiced by Tina Fey) who has been an undergrad for a hundred years.
And that’s all we know. What happens to the souls that graduate the university? Do they ascend to a higher plane or are they reincarnated? Pixar isn’t saying. If the trailers don’t tell, we may have to buy a ticket to find out. Soul opens June 19.