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Film Review: Soul (2020)

IMDb Link: Soul (2020)
Directors: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers
Writers: Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton

Synopsis: A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.

We all, as film fans, have our favourite directors that we know we can trust when they make a new film. Whether it is Quentin Tarantino or David Fincher, we see that name linked to a project and we know we are in for a treat. Animation rarely ever gets that level of excitement just from a director attached to a project, yet there is one name I can always trust when it comes to high-quality animated movies: Pete Docter.

Docter takes on his most ambitious project yet with Soul, a film that feels specifically made for a more mature audience. The themes of the film hit incredibly close, as I can say for sure that many people have felt the same way that the lead character Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx) feels at the start of this film. As someone who even at the young age of 22 has had numerous bumps in the road in terms of discovering and continuing on with my passion for the film industry, it is incredibly easy to relate to his character and go along with this journey.

After Amy Poehler smashed her voice performance as Joy in Inside Out, we now get to see her fellow co-host Tina Fey do the same here, giving a wonderful performance as soul number 22. Even in the supporting cast, there are some wonderful performances that help bring this world to life. We are getting to a point where voice performances should gain more respect and reputation than they do, and this film proves the talent that is required to bring these characters truly to life.

It should not surprise anyone, but the world-building within this story is utterly breathtaking. I love how creative Pixar is becoming with the animation of their characters, breaking away from just making characters look as realistic as possible or simply taking the large eyes approach of design. Instead, other aspects of the characters are exaggerated and the form of the human figure is played around with, which adds real personality to these characters. It’s a small touch, but one that has certainly not gone unnoticed.

Many people before me have pointed out that this story is quite predictable and replicates the Pixar formula, which it does to some extent. However, this only hits at the final section of the film as I had no idea what direction this story was going in for the first hour and a bit. There is a twist in the narration style halfway through the film which I simply was not predicting, and it made the story feel refreshing and incredibly fun to watch unravel. It kept in the emotional beats that Pixar are most known for, but they have just as much impact here – yes, it got me to tear up at the end.

I haven’t even begun to talk about the incredible technical elements beyond the animation that helps bring this story to life. Quite simply, this may just be the best score I have heard from a film in years as Reznor and Ross once again make something that truly captures the essence of the film. The editing of the film is extremely sharp and the film never slows down or drifts away from the story or the heart, making for an entertaining 100-minutes with not a second wasted.

Simply put it, Pixar have done it again and created another top-tier animation for the records. Whilst it is sad that I will not get to experience this in the cinematic experience that this film deserves, I am so glad that many families will get to sit down in front of their TV on Christmas Day and give this a watch. Quite simply, it is the best film I have seen since the start of lockdown and is one of Pixar’s bests.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Soul is available to watch on Disney+ on Christmas Day.

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