Very soon the brand-new film Soul is coming to entertain people having the new concept of afterlife or before-birth in a playful and kid friendly way produced by Pixer, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Soul is going to be the animated original by the studio with riter-director Pete Docter who has also given successful animations like Up and Inside Out along with the co-director and co-writer Kemp Powers and writer Mike Jones who tells the story of Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher in the midst of an existential crisis in this narrative. The brightly colored, highly stylized, PG-rated film poses big questions about personal fulfillment, where we end up after we die and whether or not we are sent to Earth with a purpose. In the writing process, Docter delved into research on essentialism, nihilism and existentialism to better articulate the plight of his characters. “You have all this deep, heady stuff, which is not going to be appealing to kids unless you can make it fun,” he said. “The key to that is making the design colorful and fun to look at.
Here is the plot in brief.
“Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town.
But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions. The film features the voices of artists like Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Daveed Diggs, Soul is directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray (Pixar short “Lou”). Globally renowned musician Jon Batiste will be writing original jazz music for the film, and Oscar-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”), from Nine Inch Nails, will compose an original score that will drift between the real and soul worlds.”
When the team set out to design the structures and buildings, they looked to ancient Greece. “In Western culture, we’re taught that that’s the seat of civilization and philosophy,” Docter said. “But then we realized pretty quickly, ‘Well, we don’t want this to seem rooted in any particular culture because we’re saying everybody came from the same place.”
“We looked up research on Elysian fields, which had Greek temples and structures,” Pilcher said.
“But the problem with that was it felt too specific and also everybody does that. We wanted something more universally friendly and something a little bit fresher.” They wound up seeking inspiration from the architecture of World Fairs spanning the 1930s through the 1960s.
“It seemed like a lot of the architecture was meant to inspire, to create a sense of awe and importance,” Docter said.
Additionally, the designers had the challenge to keep it playful and not spooky as it is the concept of beyond life and the living. In fact, making sure the souls didn’t look like ghosts was of major concern for the design team. “The color palette was really one of the toughest things because if you make them all bluish, or just gray, they just look like ghosts. And if you make them all white, they’re going to look like ghosts too and then you can even bring in the sociocultural association of skin color, which we wanted to avoid. But if you take warm spectral light, like light through a prism, and shine it through a soft little form, you’ll get warm lights going through one side and blues and violets where they exit. We actually had to develop technology, which we called the ethereal helmet, [to accomplish it].”