Hot on the heels of its 3 Academy Award nominations, Soul arrives on Blu-ray today. Pixar’s latest animated gem blends existential questions with family friendly humour to create a charming film.
In the eyes of jazz pianist and middle school band teacher Joe (Jamie Foxx), life is all about landing that full time gig in a band. Unfortunately, after scoring his dream job playing in a quartet led by legendary saxophonist Dorethea (Angela Bassett), Joe steps into an open manhole and falls into a coma. Waking up as a soul on the conveyer belt to the “Great Beyond”, Joe is desperate to get back to his body on Earth. Escaping to an in-between realm where souls are groomed prior to getting a body, Joe meets the rebellious 22 (Tina Fey) who is doing everything she can to avoid being assigned to a newborn human.
Sharing a common desire to cheat the system, the pair agree to team up in hopes of attaining what they each truly desire the most. What Joe does not realize though is that one does not evade the afterlife without an accountant, Terry (Rachel House), taking notice. Determined to ensure that every soul destined for the Great Beyond makes it there, Terry makes it his personal mission to capture Joe’s soul and bring balance back to the universe. With only a few hours to get his soul back in his body, Joe and 22 must navigate both their differences and several unexpected obstacles if they hope to make it to the show on time.
Using the tropes of a body-swapping comedy to ease audiences into an existential meditation on life, Soul is an absolute delight from beginning to end. Setting the tone early with its unique mixture of animation styles, ranging from traditional to the wonderfully abstract, directors Pete Docter and Kemp Powers plunges viewers into the deep end with a comfortable life vest. This allows the film to inject jokes involving Carl Jung, Mother Theresa, and the transcendent nature of sign flipping in a digestible way.
Filled with the right amount of humour and heart, Soul makes one feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes, Not Your Average Joe, Astral Taffy, Pretty Deep for a Cartoon, Into the Zone: The Music and Sound of Soul, Soul Improvised, Jazz Greats, Audio Commentary with director Pete Docter, co-director/writer Kemp Powers and producer Dana Murray.
I really liked this film a lot. It was moving but also insightful about who we are as people and the little things that make life worth living. I love the visual aspects of it including the scenes in the Great Beyond that reminds me of A Matter of Life and Death by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Of course you know me as a NIN fan as I do love the score a lot as I think it’s one of Trent and Atticus’ best work while it is balanced by Jon Baptiste’s music as I hope those 3 win. Plus, I’m happy that Trent and Atticus made something for the children. Now I can play some NIN for my nephew and newborn niece.
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