A Trip to the Movies That’s Good for the Soul


By S1SW (05) Chan Wing Tsun Valerie & S1CN (26) Wong Hau Sum

Part 1: The Trip

A few weeks ago, the courtesy of the English department, we got to go to the cinema for a *private screening* of the new Pixar hit, SoulPixar is known for their genius work that interests people of every age. Soul is another great example of their genius. I absolutely enjoyed the movie and couldn’t stop talking about it the next day.

The trip was very memorable. Everyone was so excited to go watch a movie. I can remember all the S1’s giggling and being late because we were waiting for everyone to get ready. There were senior students who were  watching the movie for an English Literature project, and some other students from the book club. Half of us went to take the bus to the cinema, while the rest of us, including the S1 students, took the MTR. It didn’t really matter what transportation we took, as long as we got there on time to watch the movie.

When we went up the stairs to the Ocean Park MTR platform, a lot of students rushed into the Circle K store right next to the stairs and snatched a bunch of snacks from the racks, throwing them on the counter and paying for them quickly so they could catch up with the big group. The cashier was surprised with our rush.

The cinema we went to was the MOViE MOViE cinema at Pacific Place, and the building looked absolutely stunning. I’ve been there a few times before, but the atmosphere of going there with my fellow classmates was very different than going with my parents. Once we entered the building, a few students took out their phones and snapped a few pictures around the ground floor.

We were devastated when we realized that we were not allowed to eat any form of food inside the cinema. I was even looking forward to buying a hamburger from the Shake Shack store next to the cinema. Thank god I didn’t have enough money, or I would have wasted it for nothing.

The cinema was empty, booked exclusively for HKUGAC students. I have never seen an empty cinema before, and the sight of it excited me a lot. My friends were all whispering about how cool the cinema looked like. We all chose specific tickets so we could sit next to our friends. A few selfies were taken, and then the movie started.

It was already quite late after the movie.  We stayed until the credits ended, and because of that, the rest of our classmates had already left except for our bunch of friends. I walked down the stairs first, with the others following suit. There were two doors, one to my left and one to my right, and I wasn’t sure which door to open, so I chose the one to my left. It was quiet for a second, and it was dark, so I wasn’t quite sure if it was the correct one, but just as I decided to step in and take a look, a monstrous roar filled my ears. I jumped in horror, and I realized I opened the Godzilla vs. Kong movie’s exit instead of the main exit. That was a shocking surprise indeed!

After we went to the ground floor, we all left one by one and went home. It might have seemed like a normal school outing, but this was definitely memorable since we rarely get to have school outings due to quarantine.

Many of my friends also enjoyed the movie. One of my friends had already seen it, but she wanted to go anyway. “I just couldn’t miss a chance to watch it again with my friends,” she explained. Another had seen the Chinese version but took this opportunity to understand more about the film. They both really enjoyed it, too.

“To me, this movie was really meaningful,” explained one friend. “I enjoyed every minute of it because it talks about our lives and it answered a lot of current questions about how we should look at life.”

Students also learned some important things from the movie. “I learned that sometimes your sparks in life don’t equal to your life goals or targets,” explained one of the students. “Sometimes our parents set high expectations for us and we struggle so hard to reach the expectations to satisfy our parents and live a successful life according to the standards of society. But actually success shouldn’t be your number one goal in life. The most important thing is that we enjoy the process of chasing our dreams.”

Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch, which is why we’re here to offer… (insert drumroll) A FILM REVIEW!!!

- Annabelle Wong

Part 2: The Review

The new Pixar movie had just been out in Hong Kong theatres for a few months, and as part of the Editorial Board, it’s our privilege- I mean, duty, to enjoy a private screening of Soul and offer a review.

This film stars Jamie Foxx (Spiderman - 2014)  as Joe Gardner, a struggling musician trying to make it big on the jazz scene, and Tina Fey (Mean Girls - 2004) as 22, an unborn soul stuck in the heavenly realms.

The movie starts off with Joe getting his first big opportunity to play with renowned saxophone player Dorothea Williams before falling comatose after stepping foot first into a hole in the floor. Somehow, he ends up in the Afterlife, which is known as ‘The Great Beyond’, but since he doesn’t want to die yet-who does?- he tries to escape, ending up in yet another dimension- The Great Before.

The Great Before is basically a preparatory class for young souls where they develop characteristics, personality traits and ‘sparks’ before they head down to Earth. ‘Mentors’ help them find their spark, which is sort of a driving force in their lives. Joe is mistaken for a Swedish psychologist Mentor and is assigned to deal with 22, an extremely troublesome, sassy soul whose short life (pre-life?) has been spent trying to stay in the Great Before and to scare away all the Mentors she’s ever had. Joe, in order to get back to Earth, has to help her find her Spark!

But of course, many things happen along the way, including turning into a cat, a heartfelt parental reunion, a jazz concert, oh and- did I mention a hippie dancing pink ship?

There’s also the villain, a celestial being named Jerry who tries his best to send Joe back into the Great Beyond, but well…

This is a Pixar film, and it always ends well. Right?

I think what I liked the most about the movie was the composition of the music. The producers clearly put lots of thought into the jazz music featured and it perfectly complemented the rise and fall of the plot.

The graphics were also well executed and I appreciated the diversity that Pixar tried to incorporate by branching into the jazz culture that isn’t exactly a common topic in animated movies.

What’s memorable about this movie is that it’s easily relatable. The movie doesn’t really revolve around fictional ideas, but instead focuses on your life purpose, which all of us can relate to.

I enjoyed Soul a lot, in the way that one might enjoy an extremely mainstream pop song (say, Justin Bieber). The ending was predictable, the show itself was entertaining, slightly thought provoking, and overall, it was quite a good film. If you’re a fan of thoughtful movies and enjoy classic Pixar animations, this movie is for you.

The moral? Don’t sacrifice yourself for slightly bratty, overly sarcastic children who sound like toddlers.

I’m just joking. Live every day as if it’s your last and do what you truly love.

- Valarie Chan