Review of Pixar’s Newest Film for Children: Soul

I recently heard some mixed reviews on Pixar’s new film, Soul so I decided to check it out for myself. The film is about Joe Gardner, a Jazz musician who dreams of making it big. Right before his big gig with a famous Jazz quartet, Joe dies. The film doesn’t explain how or why but he ends up in a space called the great before, which is more like a realm or a higher consciousness. This is the stopping place before moving onto the final stage of afterlife called the great beyond. Joe asks if it’s hell but all the other characters just laughed at him as if he just asked the most ridiculous question. 

So, Joe is in the great beyond where uncreated souls are taught the ways of human life. Here Joe meets a soul referred to as 22, played by Tina Fey so I may refer to as a girl but the film didn’t make that distinction. She is still in the school called the youth academy. Well, that sounds harmless, right?! This space is where personalities are inserted into a soul sort of like a soul factory. There are a couple of different species of leaders and they are all named Jerry or Terry. As the film progresses it’s clear that the writer was a bit obsessed with Jerry Garcia and eastern religions with an emphasis on New Age beliefs.

In this space, 22 takes Joe to the different areas that are in this space. The first stop is the hall of everything and in this hall you can experience everything and is where you get your spark (passions), which completes a soul. I found it interesting that 22 describes this space as just hypothetical, and not real. It was also odd that 22 can posses different voices, man or woman but it seems that this space is gender less as souls are assigned a number. They can’t smell, taste, or touch anything with feeling. There are many New Age beliefs here including the option to choose what they will be like on earth regarding their professions.

Next, 22 and Joe go through a box opening which is described as an in between state/space between the physical and the spiritual. They are in a darker desert like space when Jerry (Garcia) comes blazing through the sand in a huge pirate ship covered with tye-dyed sails and the buoys and anchor are huge peace signs. Jerry dons a beard and a crystal staff and refers to himself as a ‘mystic without borders’. Jerry proceeds to rescue 22 and Joe from a lost soul who looks like a Cyclopes monster then tells Joe this space is a mental state when we are focused on our passions and are “in the zone”, we can access this space. There are very blatant new age ideas of projecting your spirit into another realm or plane. It appears that souls here are directly connected to a physical body on earth because souls in this space can hit another soul there and the physical body has the same reaction to being hit, like a puppet show. Another interesting fact, 22’s bragged that it’s most influential teacher is George Orwell. Have you seen enough red flags yet?

This is also the space that a mentor (older soul) and a unborn new soul are paired together and here we see clear reincarnation ideas in this film. As if souls are recycled because they need to teach others or need to find their purpose before going onto the great beyond. Jerry seems to be a sort of medium that helps souls get back to their bodies that are still on earth. Other characters seem to be in a trance state or experiencing astral projection while their human bodies are doing other things on earth.

Next, Jerry helps Joe get back to earth by telling him to tune into his chakra and begins meditating, (cue the tribal mantra music.) Then, Joe jumped through a portal which was created from Jerry taking his staff and drawing a circle in the sand (very similar to witchcraft) and he intended to go back into his own body however, 22 hitches a ride so Joe’s soul jumps into the cat on the hospital bed while 22 enters Joe’s body.

The madness continues and here is my warning. This movie is geared toward young children and honestly is a clear example of relativism indoctrination. New Age ideas and eastern religions promote meditative states like astral projection, so it makes the viewer think it can be possible to do this and that it is a reasonable worldview to have. Especially with kids this can be a powerful illustration that kids need in order to remember and understand ideas. This is why you see Harry Potter spell books at places like Barnes & Noble. Its more than just a fun film because there is an underlying agenda that promotes progressive ideas. It’s a ploy to get you to buy into relativism from a very young age. Further, young kids think very literally so films like these are dangerous to them because they can’t reason like an adult. This may be an okay movie to watch with your mature christian children but only for spotting truth vs lies. Trust me there is very little truth in this film. The ending is thoughtful and tugs at the viewers feelings as Joe contemplates his purpose in life but then he starts playing the piano and while “in the zone” he goes back to talk to his good friend, Jerry the mystic.

I find films like this to be so damaging to kids because they start grasping onto a false view of reality. Before I became a Christian I spent some time partaking in the new age religion and it is a very dark and seductive belief system. It’s main goal is to make you feel good and do things that make you feel good. One of the biggest teachings is that you can manifest what you want in this life and where you will spend eternity. Another thing I wanted to point out is that these dangerous ideas lead to more dangerous ideas. New Agers have firm beliefs in the importance of numerology, colors, and astrology. Case in point is in the number 22, Numerology.com describes it as follows:

The number 22 is one of three very important double-digit numbers in Numerology: the Master Numbers. 11, 22, and 33 are the only Master Numbers, and their powerful energy is meant to connect us to the spiritual plane and help us find purpose in our existence. Known in Numerology as the “Master Builder,” the number 22 channels cosmic wisdom down to Earth and uses it to turn incredible dreams into reality.

They named the soul, 22 for a reason and it wasn’t random. If your goal is to enjoy a family movie with your kids, this isn’t the movie for you. However, it would be good for mature Christians to watch as a critique. Sadly, I’ve heard many Christian parents raving about this movie so my fear is that we, Christians need to spend more time in the Bible so that we can discern truth from fiction.