The release of ‘Soul’ on Christmas Day was a marvellous thought piece on life and death, told with maturity and grace of Pixar at their very best.
The film is about middle-school band teacher called Joe (Jamie Foxx), who shares a deep passion for Jazz music and dreams about making it as a full-time musician. However, after a near-death experience, Joe finds himself soul-searching in another dimension, where he has to discover what having a ‘Soul’ really means.
The film’s script contains the real magic that the studio has been missing for a few years. The mature themes cleverly blended with the childlike wonder of a Pixar picture help convey the subject. The film benefits from it being a children’s movie, as the wonder and beauty found in life are usually seen the best through a child’s eyes. Everything from the taste of pizza to the leaves on a tree has a mystic quality from the film’s viewpoint helping the audience discover the wonder of life through the film’s images.
‘Soul’ cast also elevates the project massively, Jamie Foxx provides a great voiceover. One of the best comical appearances in the movie comes from Richard Ayoade as a ‘soul searcher’. His dialogue is humorous, witty and completely ironic delivered with the right amount of comical delivery Ayoade is famous for.
The film’s structure, while on first viewing seemed flawed in the third act of the film, is one of the clever ways the screenplay tinkers with the typical Hero’s Journey. The third act is very much metaphor that the end of someone’s journey isn’t where you think it should be or where it will be. Life goes on.
Overall, ‘Soul’ is the most ambitious Pixar project in years, especially after a lot of sequels and somewhat uninspired projects. This film manages to analyse taboo topics of life and death, with the phenomenal awe of the studio’s distinct style and some solid performances by the cast. The last year might not have been a great one for film, but ‘Soul’ is definitely one of the best eggs in the basket.
Words by Jake Morgan