Directed by : Pete Docter
Written by : Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers
Starring : Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed DIggs, Angela Bassett.
Soul is Pixar’s latest offering, originally intended to be released in theaters this summer, but was later pushed back and moved to Disney+ – without the Premier Access paywall (which is a wise move, considering Disney’s radio silence with Mulan’s performance with that model).
As usual, the first thing you notice in this film is the excellent animation quality, this is one beautiful looking film with photo-realistic environments and lighting that’s pretty much indistinguishable from real life. Voice acting is also excellent, resulting in incredibly well-realized characters. One wouldn’t expect anything less from Pixar.
Pixar usually goes for the jugular when it comes to its themes, and Soul definitely wasn’t an exception. While never reaching the deep thought-provoking heights as Wall-E, nor the emotional heights featured in Up – Soul does carry a powerful message, one that is arguably more emotionally resonant to our day-to-day life, a call to celebrate life itself, even the mundane parts of it.
Soul’s main strength is its willingness to let its characters simply breathe, and meander within the world they’ve so beautifully constructed. The first two acts, while seemingly slow at times – works in its favor because of the message it’s trying say, a majority of the film focuses on Joe (Jamie Foxx) & 22 (Tina Fey) going through day-to-day activities that we would find inconsequential, and take for granted (which is rather resonant given the current times). It’s in this slow build-up that eventually results in a gut-punching, crescendo of a third act that really sweeps the rug under you.
The only blemish in this otherwise stellar story is Pete Docter’s unfortunate habit of diminishing his richly crafted meta-physical world into some parodied form of corporate bureaucracy (He did the same thing with Inside Out). Every scene that featured the soul counselors felt out of place.
Overall, Soul was a wholesome experience and another testament to Pixar’s prowess of storytelling. This a perfect film to watch during the holidays with your family and loved ones, and it might just provide a sliver of hope considering the times we are living in today…