Movie Review – ‘Soul’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

If you were to tell me after seeing ‘Toy Story 4’ in 2019 that I would be seeing the Disney/Pixar films ‘Onward’ and ‘Soul’ in 2020, I probably would’ve just shrugged and said, “Maybe, maybe not. I’m not that bothered to see them to be honest.” My, my, how things have changed since 2020 began! 🙂

Don’t get me wrong! I have enjoyed seeing ‘Onward’ and ‘Soul’ this year, even though I didn’t see them on the big screen. But beforehand, I wasn’t particularly excited by them when they were advertised. Now that I have seen them, they’ve been intriguing Disney/Pixar films to see and review.

‘Soul’, the latest Disney/Pixar film, was released via Disney+ on Christmas Day 2020. I didn’t see the film on Christmas Day due to me watching other things like the 2020 Christmas Special of ‘Call the Midwife’. I saw the film last Tuesday. I enjoyed seeing ‘Soul’, but I think it’s been overrated lately. 😐

That’s not to say it’s a bad movie. It was strange, mind you. I’m not sure if Pixar is running out of ideas to tell imaginative stories in the films they make. It might have something to do with the subject matter they’re trying to get across, especially since this film is about the afterlife and such. 😐

The story of ‘Soul’ follows a middle school black music teacher called Joe Gardner, voiced by Jamie Foxx. For me, James Foxx played Max Dillon/Electro in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ and is due to return to play Electro in the third ‘MCU Spider-Man’ film, I believe. I did enjoy his performance here.

In the film, Joe Gardner has a love for jazz and wants to do a gig to fulfil his dreams and ambitions in being a jazz musician. But after falling down a manhole and…’dying’, I believe (I’ll come back to this in a bit), Joe finds himself as a soul heading into the ‘Great Beyond’. But Joe’s very unwilling to die. 😐

Joe tries to reunite his soul and his body after being accidentally separated in order to fulfil his big break as a jazz musician. But he soon interacts with another soul called 22, voiced by Tina Fey (who was in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ apparently) and learns about what it means to have an actual ‘soul’.

Now, I like the jazz music aspect of this movie. If that was the central focus of the film, I would’ve been all for it. Maybe it could match something to likes of what ‘La La Land’ did, depicting jazz music in a modern world. But I do think the soul aspects and the world building of the souls got in the way.

Also, the way Joe ended up being a soul in the first place didn’t feel emotionally gained. For you see, he falls into a manhole…and there’s no emotional significance to indicate that he’s dead. In fact, it’s more played for laughs and not like it’s something we should be worried about with Joe being dead.

There are some nice ‘character’ moments featured in the film, especially with how Joe learns to be a better person and inadvertently helps 22 to come out of her ‘attitude’ problems and learn how important it is to be a soul for someone. Mind you, I’m not happy with how the ‘afterlife’ is depicted.

It’s not how I see the afterlife in terms of my Christian views as it’s being played for laughs. I did find it funny when Joe’s soul was switched inside a cat’s body and 22’s soul was switched inside Joe’s. The interaction once Joe became a cat and 22 became Joe was amusing and entertaining to watch. 🙂

As well as Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, the film also features Graham Norton as Moonwind, a spiritual sign twirler. There’s also Rachel House as Terry, a soul counter; Alice Braga and Richard Ayoade as Jerry and Jerry, soul counsellors; Phylicia Rashad as Libba, Joe’s mother; Donnell Rawlings as Dez, Joe’s barber; Questlove as drummer ‘Curley’ and Angela Bassett as jazz musician Dorothea Williams.

‘Soul’ is certainly an unusual film in the Disney/Pixar line-up. I can’t call it the best one out of the lot and I prefer ‘Onward’ more than ‘Soul’. It was an intriguing film to see and it was fun to hear Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey as the characters they played. A nice distraction, even if it wasn’t my cup of tea. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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