A well-known adage is that if something works, you shouldn't change it. This rule is certainly known to the creators of the Pixar studio, which provides a portion of animated good again and again. What's in the soul - the latest film directed by Pete Docter - goes at least as deep as Inside the head , bringing with it a lesson that we all seem to need nowadays.
You can’t always get what you want
We meet Joe Gardner – a music teacher in one of New York’s public schools, and at the same time not entirely fulfilled jazz pianist. He drills his full-time job half-heartedly, devoting himself to dreams of a great career on the most prestigious stages. One day a light appears in the tunnel – thanks to one of the graduates, inspired by his classes, Joe has a chance to play with a real star of the jazz scene, Dorothea Williams (in the Polish language version, speaking with the voice of Danuta Błażejczyk). In his euphoric frenzy, however, he forgets about something definitely down to earth – looking at his feet. In this way, in an anthropomorphic, though quite rounded creature, Joe’s soul goes to the underworld. Not being ready to meet the Creator, however, it escapes from transport to heaven, instead moving to the Pre-worlds – a place that in which uncut souls gain their characteristics and spark, and from where they finally set off on a journey to Earth. Joe sees his chance with soul 22 – a soul training veteran who has no thought of leaving the nest that she has built up in this abstract dimension. But is what he wants the same as what he needs?
Children and fish have a voice!
Pixar studio is famous for the fact that from the very beginning of its activity it revives the inanimate and gives voice to those creatures that do not have a voice. People in their productions often either play far-flung roles or don’t appear at all. Starting with Luxo Jr. – an unruly lamp, the hero of the studio’s debut production (and its mascot at the same time), the animators have managed to give life to various animals as well as toys, robots, monsters and other magical creatures. On the occasion of the premiere of In My Mind (in which we observe the adventures of emotions inhabiting the head of a teenage girl), it was joked that a natural step Forward (get it?) Would be a film about the spiritual life of … the soul. Here it is.
As usual, the use of unusual heroes is for the creators only a starting point for deliberations on topics definitely dear to people. They are consistently accompanied by a proven scheme, using the conflict of desires and needs as old as the world. Of course, you could scoff at this point, maliciously reminding the creators of constructing subsequent stories on one hoof – and there would probably be some right in that. However, the magic of Pixar simply works in the world – and the key to the artistic success of films signed with the name of Pete Docter (associated with the studio from the beginning of its existence, responsible primarily for the script of the first parts of Toy Story , as well as the directing of The Departure or the aforementionedIn my head ) what seems to be above all, is respect for viewers of all ages. The philosophical underpinning is obviously appropriately simplified to adjust the level of complexity to the specificity of a popular work, but still not so trivial that the recipient could feel drunk. Light form and humor in no way detract from the seriousness of these considerations.
Dumka for two hearts (and souls)
On the technical level, we are dealing with an audiovisual – don’t be afraid to use that word – a masterpiece. The animators made sure that both levels of the story stood out and delighted, although using completely different means. Accurately, even hyperrealistically recreated, New York is teeming with life, detailing the smallest details of the world’s most famous metropolis (not forgetting even the recent Internet star – a rat connoisseur of Italian pies). This performance contrasts with the fanciful vision of the afterlife, a bit more symbolic, but visually definitely flirting with geometric abstraction straight from the canvases of Picasso or Kandinsky. In this case, the animators allowed themselves some experiment, combining different styles and techniques of animation. The three-dimensional shapes are interwoven with analog lines,
The image is completed by a virtuoso soundtrack, once again broken into two halves of an extremely tasty apple – lively jazz pieces recorded under the baton of Jon Batiste and the melancholic, reflective ambiences of the Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross duo. In the case of Docter’s film, music has a double bottom – while the use of the jazz theme was obviously a contribution to filling the film with catchy pieces, the genre itself – more often than other artistic trends based on improvisation – additionally strengthens the moral of the film, affirming surrender to every day to the free flow of life, the rejection of rigid scores that we impose on ourselves in accordance with distant, unrealistic goals.
Seize the day
If you want to find what’s in the soul of weaknesses by force , you should probably pay attention to a certain thematic and creative secondary to the previous film by Pete Docter. In fact, it would be looking for a hole in the whole – it is one of the best titles in the Californian studio’s achievements, and at the same time an example of a perfect synergy of absolute emotional honesty, heart, idea and an appropriate budget. In many ways, Pixar is playing – and will probably be playing for a long time – in a league of its own.