Soul is currently streaming on Disney Plus along with “Hamilton.” It received universal acclaim from critics and streamers alike. Soul is nominated for an Oscar for “Best Animated Feature” along with fellow nominee “Onward.” Originally intended for a theatrical release date, Disney & Pixar decided to release it on Disney Plus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Before “The 2021 Academy Awards” air, I want to share my thoughts on this Best Animated Feature contender if it’s actually a hit or miss. I’m gonna predict it’ll win Best Animated Feature. Keep in mind, I won’t go into full detail on this review, because I got a lot on plate as I’m trying to watch movies from 2020 as much as I can before The Oscars air tomorrow on ABC so bear with me.
Today’s review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS. Feel free to check out my non-spoiler article.
Float & Sink Aspects
Float: Jamie Foxx & Tina Fey both did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances. Tina did some uncredited rewrites making sure the story is polished.
Fun Fact: Prior to voicing Joe, Jamie portrayed Ray Charles in his Oscar winning performance in “Ray.”
Other Cast Members such as Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Questlove & Angela Bassett all did a decent job for their respective voiceover performances.
Pete Docter (Monster’s Inc, Inside Out) did an amazing job directing the film. He also co-wrote the script.
Computer Animation looks breathtaking bringing elements to life including character models, fluid movement, lighting, environmental locations set in New York City & The Great Before.
Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste & Trent Reznor served as composers and they all did an awesome job.
The Tone manages to balance between seriousness and comedy.
Chemistry between Joe & 22 serves as the main highlight. Their interactions with each other fleshes out the story.
Character Development involving both Joe & 22. As the story progresses, they begin to change.
Soul Councilors as they are called Jerrys (Just go with it) are brought to life with a combination of 2D & 3D animation.
The concept of The Great Before is a creative idea about what if newly made souls exist before we’re born? This idea has never been explored before in other afterlife related movies including “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” “Ghost,” “Down To Earth,” “The Lovely Bones,” “Coco” & “Beetlejuice.”
Main Conflict centers around Joe, who accidentally dies, must find a way to get back in his body before a gig commences. Besides Joe’s dilemma, 22 has a hard time looking for something passionate and has no interest in human life.
Before she met Joe, 22 has a hilarious backstory encountering famous people who died.
Primary Themes for the film are Passion, Music, Death, Life, Talent & Dreams. Each one is handled maturely.
Producers consulted with musicians including Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones & Questlove for help translate African-American culture and jazz music accurately as possible.
One character said, “Stop saying ok.” A possible reference from “Leon: The Professional.”
Like Joe, Jamie will portray Spawn The main titular comic book anti-hero in an upcoming reboot alongside Jeremy Renée. Unlike Soul, Spawn is resurrected as he’s given a chance to see his loved one.
If you have a sensitive side, this movie will make you cry. As for me personally, I didn’t shed any tears. That’s right, I never cried watching a Disney or Pixar film. Only time something animated related got me ballin’ is Code Lyoko’s second season finale. If you’re a fan of the show like me, you’ll probably get it. Last time something made me cry is The Mandalorian’s second season finale. If you’ve seen it, you know why.
Sink: Terry, who is the main villain, didn’t feel so memorable like other Pixar villains including Stinky Pete, (from Toy Story 2) Randall, (from Monster’s Inc) Syndrome, (from The Incredibles) & Lotso (from Toy Story 3)
The Final Verdict: A-
From my perspective, Soul is a hit that’ll keep you invested from start to finish. If it weren’t for a weak villain, I would’ve given Soul my highest grade an A, FOR APEX. An A- is up there. Onward remains as my personal favorite animated film from 2020. If you haven’t seen Soul, I highly recommend it. Don’t forget to watch Onward.