Soul Featurette

Christmas will bring us two cinematic gifts to keep us occupied during what will probably be the weirdest and saddest holiday season that we’ve had in awhile. Wonder Woman 1984 will arrive on HBO Max the same day that it hits theaters, and Disney is releasing Pixar’s Soul on Disney+ at no extra charge. Since we’ve been seeing so much from the former recently, it’s time to get a new look at the latter with a new clip that shows off the incredible piano skills of Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx).

Pixar’s Soul Clips

In this first clip, which opens the movie, we get to see how Joe Gardner tries to bring a little passion to his middle school band class. If you were ever in band in school, you know exactly what this classroom is like. But there’s always some glimmer of musical hope in a few students, and Joe sees that here, even if he’s not entirely satisfied with his job. Thankfully, there’s a new opportunity that comes his way.

Joe Gardner gets to tickle the ivories in an impressive way when he sits down to audition for legendary jazz musician Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett) and her quartet that’s playing at The Half Note Club in New York City. Dorothea laments the fact that they’re relegated to hearing a middle school band teacher audition to fill a spot in their group, but she changes her tune completely when Gardner plays a bit of improvised music on the piano, finally landing him the kind of gig he’s been yearning to get for years.

This is one of those sequences that shows off how incredible the animation in Soul really is. Aside from bringing piano playing to life in a surreal visual representation, the dimly lit environment of the club perfectly captures the essence of a hole-in-the-wall jazz venue like that. The instruments themselves look like they were plucked from reality, from the shimmer on the saxophone to the veneer on the bass. Pixar is the best at what they do for a reason.

If you’d like to learn more about Soul, be sure to check out our interview with director Pete Docter, co-director/writer Kemp Powers, and producer Dana Murray. You can also learn about some of the alternate versions of the movie that Pixar developed throughout their long production process, and dig deeper into the making of the movie over here.

Here’s the official synopsis for Pixar’s Soul:

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) 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 (Tina Fey), 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.

Soul arrives on Disney+ on December 25, 2020.

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