Like most Disney Pixar films, "Soul" forces viewers to take a hard look at their own life and make them think about what really makes them the person they are today.
For a film that explores what builds a person's soul, interest and personality and encourages one to live life to the fullest, its impact doesn't feel as strong as the studio's predecessors.
But there's no denying how beautiful "Soul" is. From the ambitious animation choices, to the appeal for both children and adults, "Soul" is a welcome addition to the Disney Pixar collection.
Disney and Pixar's Soul | Official Trailer | Disney+ www.youtube.com
Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle-school band teacher who finally gets his big break to play at the hottest jazz club in New York. But a small accident takes him to The Great Before - a world where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they arrive on Earth. Through his sleuthing, Joe discovers souls earn a badge that gives them a one-way ticket to Earth. So he plots to team up with a "troubled" soul named 22 (Tina Fey), who doesn't understand what it's like to live on Earth, and take her badge so he can get home.
As he gets to know 22, he learns more about himself and how he needs to change his life.
It's widely known how well Disney Pixar creates movies for everyone of all ages in the entire family, and "Soul" is no exception. Directed and co-written by Pete Docter from "Up" and "Inside Out," it's no wonder this film grabs at the audiences' emotions. The movie takes a very complex idea of the human experience and condenses it in a way that's fun and presentable for kids. Sometimes, that's to the film's detriment because they didn't need an antagonist in the plot. But since it's a kid's movie, it's easy to throw in a non-threatening bad guy whose only motivation is to capture the characters going against the system.
Having said that, there's is a plot twist in the second half of the film that is not easy to predict. It's a bit goofy but necessary to help with Joe's and 22's character development.
Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross do an outstanding job with the scores in "Soul." And Jon Batiste, who led the original jazz compositions and arrangements, help jazz music become a character on its own in the story, as one would hope considering the movie is about an aspiring jazz pianist.
With each new Disney Pixar film, there's an element of experimentation in the animated art style. As Joe is descending into The Great Before, the animation is mind-blowing. The minimalist, lined art style is a beautiful choice that throws viewers into a new world with Joe.
Although "Soul" was originally premiering in theaters June of 2020, it feels like it's dropping at the perfect time around the holidays. In a year like 2020, everyone could use a bit more motivation to value life.
"Soul" is streaming on Disney+ starting Friday, December 25, 2020.
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