Title – Soul (2020)
Director – Pete Docter (Inside Out) & Kemp Powers (feature debut)
Cast – (voices of) Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Richard Ayoade
Plot – Middle aged New York based musician/music teacher Joe (Foxx) finds himself in between life and death and teamed up with long suffering soul known as 22 (Fey) as the two begin to find out the meaning of life and what it means to be alive together.
“You can’t crush a soul here. That’s what life on Earth is for”
Review by Eddie on 29/01/2021
Doing what they do best; somehow managing whimsical animation charm with heartwarming stories for adults, Pixar rectify the disappointing Onward with the soulful Soul, a new addition to upper shelf of Pixar releases that might not be top of the class but gets mightily close on more than a few occasions.
Unleashed in a majority of Western territories straight to Disney+ in light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis that plagues many parts of the world, Soul is the type of animated treat that would’ve been perfectly suited to the wonders of big screen movie watching but thanks to some creative storytelling and a typically strong showing of craftsmanship, Pete Docter and Kemp Powers fantasy adventure, that is founded on some very relatable life ponderings, is still a joy to behold.
To be perfectly honest, Soul is not suited to the younger of Disney fans, the film’s at time very adult ruminations and questions about finding ones purpose in life and meaning of a happy existence will fly over the heads of anyone under the age of 10 but its unlikely many adults would be able to watch Soul without feeling some sense of moving within, as it brings home some powerful and important messages for us all.
There’s nothing particularly new being said here with Doctor and Powers covering familiar ground in most instances but the imagination and excitement they bring to the table makes things feel fresh and intriguing, especially with the abundant joys of witnessing a wonderfully recreated New York City or soul filled “after/before” life come to be before our very eyes, majestically combined with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s inventive score.
Following Jamie Foxx’s long-suffering jazz musician Joe on a journey of self discovery in light of finally scoring his potential big break into the music industry that also includes a budding friendship and story of learning with long standing soul #22 (voiced enthusiastically by Tina Fey) when Joe finds himself on deaths door suddenly, Soul walks along a path many viewers will have walked upon previously but the film never drags or takes any unnecessary detours as it rollicks along at a break neck pace towards an assured and lovingly staged finale.
It’s one of Pixar’s most human films yet, similar in nature to Up and Inside Out, with the tale of Joe managing to feel relatable and deep without every trying to preach and while the balance could’ve done with more aimed at the youngsters who are likely to be left tired of Soul’s plot movements and dialogue heavy situations, we can be thankful that Pixar is still managing to produce such worthwhile films under the creativity of their boundless animated oriented minds.
Final Say –
It may lack that special magic that makes the best Pixar films all-time greats and has very little accessibility for its younger watchers but Soul is a fantastic new addition to the Pixar catalogue and one of the most memorable animated outings in years.
4 New York Knicks smack-downs out of 5
I lucky enough to see this in the latter half of last year and in amongst pandemics, growing older and wondering about all the different people in life, and things that I’ve seen others not do, it really hit home in an adult sense. Loved it, emotive but not over the top. Very much agreed that it’s for an older audience though!
If you fancy a look: https://criticalpopcorn.com/2020/12/22/soul-review-dir-pete-docter/
Totally agree mate.
I think it’s a wonderful movie for our current time we find ourselves in. It was great to see Pixar back on top form.
Wonderful review! I loved this movie and its message. We watched it as a family and your assessment of the age level draw to it was spot on. Our three-year old enjoyed the visuals, our 10-year old was able to get the general message, while my wife and I could feel the message to our core.
The later scene when he realizes it’s the ‘everyday moments’ that make life what it is was quite special – it had a Terrence Malick type feel to it in showing the beauty of life.
Wonderful to hear about the different reactions your family felt mate.
I was surprised in some ways just how adult focussed the themes were here but Pixar do a great job at creating components for all in their films.
I was certainly moved by the message here and that’s not often something that happens for me when it comes to animated films.
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I watched this at home and while I agree this would have been amazing to watch in the theaters, I absolutely adored this movie.
It’s a really fine animated movie, maybe even more so for adults than kids.
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