I wrote about why Pixar’s Soul is actually a horrible depiction of a black American man who gets killed before the movie is halfway done, and then isn’t a black man for almost ALL of the rest of the film. I explained how, not only is the lead character, Joe, a poor depiction of SEVERAL unflattering stereotypes of black men in America, but then when his body is taken over by a white woman, everything in his life starts to go BETTER. But with all of my criticisms (which I stand by) I do want to take the time to tell you that, if you have Disney+, you should give it a watch.
Here’s the reasons why:
The movie is GORGEOUS. The artists at Pixar are brilliant visual artists who know they craft and know it well. The music and imagery, editing and pacing and all other components of the film as a film are amazing. The music alone is worth the listen even if you have a lousy tv. But, you know, get that screen fixed. They’re making a 3rd season of The Mandelorian. You’ll want to see Baby Yoda. He’s not popular for his quippy one liners. He’s just CUTE.
The story itself is NOT about race. I don’t remember it being brought up, unlike almost EVERY episode of Black Flacon and the Winter Soldier. The story is about Joe, and not about Joe the black man being black in a (something something racism oppression) world. It’s about the music and his dream of becoming a professional musician. All of the race driven reasons I dislike the movie is from the stuff Woke Disney Folk CRAMMED down our collective audience throats as they promoted this. The promos and social media hype was ALL ABOUT HOW BLACK the cast and characters were. Which is amazingly stupid.
Look, we’ve all seen Matrix 4 by now. Do you think if you recast EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER in that movie with black actors it would become somehow magically watchable? Not even a little. I rest my case.
The point is, the movie itself doesn’t drag the audience through the identity politics that the promotion did, so I don’t think it fair to judge the movie based on that, or to decide not to see it because of what the marketing people did with it. Don’t think about the fact that Joe is black and 22 is white. Just let them be individuals. You know, the way we should with real people.
Is that hate speech? Someone check with the YouTube trust and safety team.
If you watch the movie with the mindset that Joe is just a guy- not a representation of black America- but just a guy. Not an identity politics checkbox, but just a man who has lived a life and made some choices, with desires and wishes and dreams, then the movie is not the racist nonsense that I argued it was in my other article about Soul. Joe’s failure to have a full time job is only a comment about Joe and the choices he has made. But if JOE is BLACK JOE, voiced by a BLACK ACTOR in a HISTORIC BLACK LEAD ROLE for BLACK PEOPLE TO WATCH IN BLACK MOVIE THEATERS, etc. then as a representation of “Black” people, he becomes an offensive stereotype, including not only his lack of a full time job, but his intentional avoidance of a full time job. So don’t watch it with the leftist nonsense it was marketed with. Watch it as a story about a man- one man- a man named Joe.
My ONE MAJOR and (in my humble opinion) unforgivable complaint about the film is that the writers CLEARLY has an ending in mind, and what would have been a GOOD ending, but they didn’t have the courage to stick with it and so “left it up to the audience to decide” which is cowardly and lazy. If you are telling a story, you are telling it. It’s not OUR job to decide how it ends anymore than it is the passenger’s place to decide where to land the plane. We got on because we were confident YOU knew where it was going to land. SO LAND IT.
In short, it’s not a classic like Cars 1 & 3, the Toy Story movies, Wall-E, Monsetrs Inc or Finding Nemo. It’s more of a Cars 2, Onward, Finding Dory kind of movie. And it’s better than the Good Dinosaur. I don’t know what happened there. But give it a watch without the outside drama clouding your decision. Let a work of art stand or fall on it’s own merits the way we let an idea or worldview stand or fall on its own merits. Then, let me know what you thought of it.