One of the oldest messages, bordering on cliche, that Hollywood movies have consistently pumped out is that there is nothing more important than following your dreams. In Pixar's new movie Soul, the lead character of Joe Gardner tries to inspire a reluctant spirit, named 22, to agree to be born by helping her find her dream and her passion. According to director Pete Docter, Soul uses that set-up to subvert the age-old message of following your dreams.
"We're kind of conditioned from little kids, what do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to be and somehow that fulfillment of that is really what makes you happy? And you know, for some people it is. Like, I find a great joy in what I get to do, but it's not the end all be all. There's more to life. And so, this film really just gets to unpack that. And I think we're so used to and conditioned to the idea that just follow your dreams. And that's the answer. And so, we get to we get to kind of turn that on its head a little bit."
Pixar is known for making movies where the emphasis is on the characters finding some sort of emotional catharsis rather than achieving big concrete goals. Toy Story charted the journey of growing up and leaving your old playthings behind. Up was about learning to live with the loss of a loved one, and letting new people into your life. Finding Nemo dealt with coming to terms with the fact that you have to step back and let someone you care about make their own mistakes to grow as a person.
With Soul, Pixar is once again gearing up to explore a complex issue, the importance of being emotionally fulfilled rather than simply pointing towards the number of material things you were able to achieve in life. Soul co-writer Kemp Powers was actually surprised that the studio allowed them to address such a subversive idea with their new film.
"I love the idea of a family movie, a movie for kids and adults, where the end goal isn't simply realizing your dream. I love the fact that we can just avoid, turn the whole cliche on its head, and have that not be the point of any of it. And it's one of the boldest choices that I've seen in a long time. And to be perfectly honest, on certain days when we were doing this, I would say to Pete and Dana [Murray] like, Are we really gonna be able to do this like, and they let us get away with this. And they did."
It will be an interesting change of pace to watch a movie that teaches children that following your dreams does not have to be the be-all-end-all of your existence. Directed by Pete Docter, Soul stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, and Angela Bassett. The film will debut on Disney+ on December 25. This news originated at ComicBook.com.