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Soul | Review

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Time and time again, Pixar manages to create a masterful film with beautiful imagery and so much heart and -dare I say- soul to them. Is their latest effort Soul, directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Kemp Powers, a worthy addition to the Pixar filmography? Absolutely!

Soul follows a school music teacher called Joe Gardner, voiced excellently by Jamie Foxx, who finally gets his shot at his dream- performing jazz music with prestigious musician Dorothea Williams (Angela Basset) when suddenly he falls down a manhole. Joe is supposed to have died then but instead, he embarks on a journey to try and return to his body along with 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), a new soul who needs training before she can head to earth, in order to experience the moment that he’s lived his entire life for.

“Music is all I think about. From the moment I wake up in the morning… to the moment I fall asleep at night. I was born to play. It’s my reason for living.”

Every time a new Pixar film comes out, the animation seems to get better and better and Soul is no exception. Even though the last Pixar film Onward only came out back in March, the quality of the animation here seems so much better. The worlds that Pixar have created just look so stunning and it’s a joy to just sit back for 100 minutes and let the incredible animation sweep you away. The film just looks so beautiful and it makes you wonder how they’ll be able to top the wonderful animation in their next film although I’m sure the geniuses at Pixar will have no problem making their next film look even better.

As well as looking beautiful, Soul has a really beautiful message at its heart. The whole film is all about life. It’s about finding your purpose in life and enjoying the limited time that we have with our life on Earth. It is quite a heavy subject matter, particularly when you remember that a large proportion of the people watching this film will probably be young children. Whilst I don’t know how young children will respond to all the ideas about finding your purpose in life, but even if you remove all the deep meaningful points this film raises, it’s still a lot of fun and people of all ages can certainly be entertained by Soul.

There are a lot of exciting characters such as Graham Norton’s sign-spinning Moonwind and there’s a lot of fun to be had with Joe and 22 when trying to reunite Joe’s soul with his body. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises but there’s a very entertaining part involving a cat when things don’t quite go to plan when trying to get Joe back to his body.

“Is all this living really worth dying for?”

It’s very easy to praise this film and there really is a lot to praise about Soul, however looking at some of their other films like Inside Out, the Toy Story series and Up to name a few, Soul doesn’t quite reach that level. I think it’s one of those films that the more you re-watch it, the more you’ll grow to love it even more, but at the minute after just one watch, there are some things that don’t quite sit perfectly for me.

I much preferred the second half of the film and there’s a scene in a barbershop about halfway through which is where the film really changes for me. In the first half of the film there are quite a few scenes in “The Great Before” where we see new souls training to be ready to go to Earth and it’s these scenes that don’t quite hit the mark and can feel a little clunky, a little too exposition-heavy and don’t quite work for me. That being said, I did absolutely love the second half of the film once it had got past all the necessary exposition and explaining of things. There’s quite a lot of explaining of things that they need to try and do early on so that the audience can keep up with where Joe is, what’s going on and to explain how this soul world works.

It’s a shame that the film won’t be released in cinemas as it has some really incredible animation that would have looked lovely on a big screen but at least it means we’re all able to see the film much sooner than if it were delayed until next year instead.

Overall, Pixar’s Soul is a worthy addition to their filmography as it’s a charming, warm, entertaining film that certainly does have a lot of soul to it.

4/5

Soul is streaming on Disney+ from Christmas Day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs–6c7Hn_A

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