Film

Pixar’s Soul tackles some big ideas, but its filmmakers know how perceptive young audiences can be

Pixar’s always had a knack for stoking our curiosity about the world around us. Over the years, the animation studio has made us think about our childhood toys in new ways, given us a deeper appreciation of rats, and even made us consider that all of our emotions play a valuable role in our lives. Now, with Soul, Pixar is tackling its most ambitious subject matter yet: The purpose of our very existence. For a film ostensibly aimed at audiences of all ages, Soul admirably wanders into some pretty weighty territory, with half its story set in the “Great Before”—a place where souls develop their personalities before heading to Earth, envisioned as a type of celestial summer camp. So, were the filmmakers behind Pixar’s latest worried its ideas would be too big and too intangible for the youngest of moviegoers? Not really! As The A.V. Club learned when we spoke with Soul co-directors Pete Docter and Kemp Powers and producer Dana Murray, they were reassured by young test audiences, who they found were often able to explain the movie’s complex ideas better than their parents.

Soul will stream exclusively on Disney+ beginning December 25.

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