Soul is the latest feature-length film from Pixar and is the first to not receive a wide theatrical release and the first to be billed as a Disney+ original film. Soul follows the story of music teacher Joe Gardner who attempts to reunite his soul with his body after inadvertently separating them just before he is about to get his big break as a jazz musician. Souls stars the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Phylicia Rashad, Alice Braga and Richard Ayoade.
Pixar do not disappoint when it comes to their storylines and I am in awe at the creativity and ideas created for the world of Soul. Following main character Joe accidently falling down a manhole and separating his soul with his body, Joe finds himself on the way to the “Great Beyond”. Unwilling to die before his big break, Joe escapes into the “Great Before”, a world in which unborn souls are prepared for life on earth and get their spark. The creation of these worlds makes Soul extremely thought provoking and credit must be given to the concepts and ideas of the times before and after life.
Jamie Foxx voices the main protagonist Joe Gardner and is excellent within the role and his relationship with Tina Fey, who plays the character 22, is wholesome, especially in the latter parts of the film. Graham Norton is surprisingly brilliant as the voice of Moonwind, a slightly neurotic, carefree character who helps Joe and 22 return back to Earth.
One omission from the cast however is Pixar veteran John Ratzenberger, who is the only voice actor to have appeared in all of the first 22 Pixar films, making Soul officially the first Pixar film to not feature his voice or involvement.
I’ve already mentioned how thought provoking Soul is, but there is a wider, more pure message which resonates throughout and that is that there is much more to life than just achievements and attainments. This theme is evident for the duration and given the current climate of the world, I think this message rings home more than ever.
Due to the slightly poignant nature of the film, dealing with life, death and finding purpose, Soul is definitely aimed at an older audience compared to usual Pixar films. Where Coco brought a light-hearted uplifting take on life and death, Soul takes a darker approach which may struggle to hold the attention of younger viewers. Because of this darker approach, I do feel a bit of that classic Pixar humour does suffer a little.
Not only does Soul have a beautiful sentiment, it is truly a beautifully animated film. The animation is as flawless as we have come to expect from Pixar and their recreation of a bustling New York City again sets the benchmark for animated movies.
All in all, Soul is a thought provoking delight with a compelling message at the heart of its beautifully animated adventure. Whilst this may not be a hit with younger fans, older fans can certainly appreciate it and I have no doubt that this will be a classic Pixar film in years to come.