Episode 653: Wa Waa Waaa Waaaah

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle “Soul,” the new animated film from Pixar starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey.

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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather overthink Disney/Pixar’s Soul, available on Disney+, which is an ambitious and fascinating, if slightly muddled, new animated film.

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2 Comments on “Episode 653: Wa Waa Waaa Waaaah”

  1. John C Member #

    I’m not really a Pixar fan, because of the discussed confused worldview, so I don’t have the nostalgia about the company to be annoyed. But the story (as do most Pixar stories) reminded me a lot of the effects of comedians like George Carlin on culture, where we have entire political blocs whose mantras are “both sides are the same, and there’s no way to change it,” even after a year where we SAW what changes political positions (spoiler: Even the most pro-capitalism politicians will go socialist, if it gets people to buy stuff, and they stop caring when people go back to buying stuff). And I wonder if that’s intentional, here, since Tina Fey does have a history of being somewhat tone-deaf, but mostly, I just think that’s how the “set up moral lessons, only to ignore them” process happens in everything from Joe’s lack of interest in his life (doesn’t like his job, have a decent suit, listen to people, or have a real relationship with his mother) to the movie’s lack of interest in 22’s new life.

    But they did hammer the jokes. I stopped counting the number of times when the screen would clear out (and I think they might have even blurred the backgrounds, slightly), so that nobody would overlook a single part of a stumble-to-faceplant cycle. Even the clever jokes, like distracting the accountant to fudge the numbers, needed a jarring cut-scene, to make sure that nobody missed what was happening. Well, except for the mentioned joke about Joe not being able to get a cab, which was arguably the funniest, but they obviously played down.

    I wonder what the deal is, though, with the “secular Christian-substitute afterlife” (that is, it’s definitely Heaven, but with bumbling bureaucracy instead of deity), as if that’s going to somehow retain the Christian audience and bring in the non-Christians who have been clamoring for such a thing? I mean, it feels like the Jerries and Terries and spiritualists were set up to be their own little franchise that’s going to continue on past Joe and 22, to me. But this is not The Good Place, where the apparent bumbling is the whole point that drives you to the mid-season reveal, because it’s not like they’re going to run a short trying to explain to us where the new souls come from; they obviously come from somewhere, since 22 is the only one who has been waiting for so long, and people are still being born…


    • John C Member #

      Oh, and I’m an idiot for forgetting that this is a movie about a Black person, where the Black person doesn’t have authority over his body, dramatically improving all aspects of his life, which…nobody in all the months this was in production thought maybe that could be a problem?


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