Five years ago, I (Dacher) received a call from Pixar writer and director Pete Docter to talk about his new film. The last time I said yes to such a request, I served as a scientific consultant for his film Inside Out. So, I was intrigued.
Before my visit, Pete offered a brief sketch of the film. The main character, Joe, is a middle-aged jazz pianist in a rut as a middle school band teacher in Queens. Just before his breakthrough show with a famous quartet, he falls into a manhole and dies, entering into another realm of consciousness. There he encounters “The Great Beyond”—but escapes to a pre-life realm, the “Great Before,” where he befriends a cynical “new soul” named 22. The story is about their respective quests: for 22 to find her reason for living, and for Joe to get back to life in his body for a once-in-a-lifetime gig. [Read more…] about How Pixar’s “Soul” met the Science of Awe