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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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Animation

Netflix | Wendell & Wild | From Producer Jordan Peele

Two scheming demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, must face their arch-nemesis, the demon-dusting nun Sister Helly, and her two acolytes, the goth teens Kat and Raul. However, Raul cannot see them so Kat helps Wendell and Wild to help him.

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Genre:

Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

October 28, 2022

Director:

Henry Selick

Cast:

Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Lyric Ross

Plot Summary:

Two scheming demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, must face their arch-nemesis, the demon-dusting nun Sister Helly, and her two acolytes, the goth teens Kat and Raul. However, Raul cannot see them so Kat helps Wendell and Wild to help him.

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Animation

LUCK Review | A Magical and Inspiring Adventure!

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From Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation comes their first animated feature which premieres on AppleTV+ this Friday, August 5th. I adored this movie and was truly charmed as the story is something the whole family can get behind and will find it fun but also moving as the film shows how we perceive good luck but also how bad luck can lead to the best things that you never expected would happen in your lifetime.

“Luck” centres around the story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world. When she discovers the never-before-seen Land of Luck, Sam must unite with the magical creatures there to turn her luck around. Eva Noblezada provides the voice for Sam. When she ages out of foster care, Sam discovers the Land of Luck and embarks on a quest that could change her luck forever. And despite her bad luck and clumsiness and everything that goes wrong, Sam never lets anything get in her way.

Apple TV+.

Simon Pegg voices Bob, a mischievous black cat from the Land of Luck. He’s all about number one, he’s a self-preservationist, so it’s all about him which makes him sound very selfish. However underneath he’s just trying to survive and once Sam, invariably enters his world she starts to penetrate that facade he has. The Captain, voiced by Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner Whoopi Goldberg, stands guard as the head of security. She sees Bob for what she thinks he is and that’s a black cat, she thinks they’re unlucky. Jane Fonda voices Babe the Dragon, the exuberant CEO of Good Luck and undisputed luckiest ancient being in all the land.

Throughout our world, we’ve become very superstitious and have long ascribed luck to little trinkets. In different cultures, we’ve had lucky pennies, four-leaf covers, horseshoes, dreamcatchers, Maneki Neko, ladybugs, etc. All of these are meant to bring luck and ward off bad luck so getting to see a whole world based on these two factors was incredible, especially in a stylistic world like the Land of Luck. A world that creates the moments in your life where everything goes right or wrong. This amazing colourful world is where all kinds of magical creatures work together to create Luck, the good and bad. Throughout Sam’s journey, she meets Leprechauns such as Gerry voiced by Colin O’Donoghue, bunnies in hazmat suits and a flamboyant unicorn names Jeff voiced by Flula Borg. They all work tirelessly every day to bring you those sweet fortunate moments.

Apple TV+.

But Luck isn’t complete without the bad luck which is made on the other side of this world. A team of goats, roots, and goblins work to make your day a little more frustrating. We’ve all had these moments of stepping in gum, losing your keys, and in my case spilling a hot cup of tea over a MacBook Pro. The world-building showcases a fine balance between good luck and bad luck, however, the tiniest amount of bad luck can shut down the Land of luck’s entire operation, which is totally thrown off by Sam’s arrival. Things are certainly about to get interesting.  Skydance Animation has truly created a world I’d love to visit. Production designer Fred Warter has given the Land of Luck its personality and colour pallet. The use of green for good luck and purple for bad luck is genius and those two colours truly complement each other as the use of colours in this film help amplify each sequence.

Apple TV+.

As the title suggests, Luck sees Sam trying her best to save this newly discovered world after she brings her unfortunate bad luck into this sacred space. Throughout the film, we discover why she’s in search of a lucky penny and ultimately Luck is an original story that’ll touch people’s hearts with its strong messages that give us hope. Luck isn’t so much about the trinkets and charms and what it means to be unlucky which I can say features some funny gags, it’s rather about love and finding your forever family.

Luck also taps into the reality of the foster care system and the emotionally tolling process that is adoption.

The film is truly an amazing story, one that works for Skydance Animation’s first feature but also Apple Tv’s first original feature film. Everything from character design to the environment is outstanding. The Land of Luck is so universal and relatable, Luck is totally random. You can’t control it, you can’t create it. The world mirrors our own but it has good luck at the top and bad luck at the bottom. They’re both opposite sides of the coin. The film was also made over Zoom and many of the actors did the voicework in their homes.

Ultimately this movie made me feel inspired, to never give up on myself, never give up on my dreams and just keep going as life can be hard sometimes but luckily it will turn around.

Apple TV+.

Are you ready to step into the Land of Luck? Thanks to Toikido for sending out the awesome merchandise for us to review!. My family absolutely adored the film and the toys. Our favourite character is Bob the cat voiced by Simon Pegg so we were excited to receive the deluxe interactive talking plush. Tia aged eight says “It’s so soft and cuddly”. Bob is delightfully curious and mischievous and is so self-obsessed that he comes with over twenty-five phrases. Press Bob’s left hind paw to hear Pegg’s vocals and phrases which include “Top of the morning to ya”, and “You flushed my penny down the toilet”.

Links to purchase these magical products are below!

You can also bring the world of Luck to life with the deluxe figures of Bob the black cat, Jeff the Unicorn, Lucky Pig, and Sam. It’s awesome to have my favourite characters as fun action figures as you’ll be able to play out scenes from the beautifully animated film.

The magical and adventurous animated film is helmed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Peggy Holmes (“The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning”), from an original screenplay written by Kiel Murray (“Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Cars 3,” “Cars”), Jon Aibel and Glenn Berger (“Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Trolls”). John Lasseter, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and David Eisenmann are producing for Skydance Animation.

“Luck” joins an expanding lineup of the Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation partnership, alongside upcoming titles such as the highly anticipated feature “Spellbound,” and the animated series “The Search for WondLa,” with several more feature films and television series to be announced. “Luck” follows the recent Apple/Skydance NAACP nomination for Outstanding Animated Short-Form and Annie Awards nomination for Best Music for “Blush,” written and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Joe Mateo (“Prep & Landing,” “Big Hero 6”), and composed by Hollywood Music in Media Award winner Joy Ngiaw (“Red,” “Fish Head”), now streaming on Apple TV+.

Luck” will be available in select cinemas and available on Apple TV+ this Friday, August 5th. 

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Animation

Battle of the Super Sons | Warner Bros. Entertainment

Ahhhh, to be young… and charged with saving the world from impending doom! That’s the burden that 11-year-old Jonathan Kent and reluctant young sidekick Damian Wayne face. On his birthday, Jonathan Kent learns his dad is Superman and that he has latent superpowers of his own! He also meets the legendary Dark Knight and current Boy Wonder, Damian. But when the two boys are forced to team up to protect their loved ones from a hostile alien force, will they become the Super Sons they’re destined to be?

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Genre:

Animation, Action

Release Date:

December 18, 2022

Director:

Rick Morales, Matt Peters

Cast:

Jack Dylan, Jack Griffo, Laura Baley

Plot Summary:

Ahhhh, to be young… and charged with saving the world from impending doom! That’s the burden that 11-year-old Jonathan Kent and reluctant young sidekick Damian Wayne face. On his birthday, Jonathan Kent learns his dad is Superman and that he has latent superpowers of his own! He also meets the legendary Dark Knight and current Boy Wonder, Damian. But when the two boys are forced to team up to protect their loved ones from a hostile alien force, will they become the Super Sons they’re destined to be?

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