So Christmas has come and gone, which means we’re not far off from putting this horrible year behind us. That being said, the closing chapter of 2020 hasn’t been too bad, mainly because I’m treating myself to a much needed Christmas hiatus from working on the future novel. The other thing is the movies I have seen lately have been very good, which means a lot when we’re talking about 2020, as it’s been like the bloody wild west when it comes to finding quality movies. I’ll save my findings for the upcoming best of 2020 list, but for now I’ll share this little movie called Soul that is everything I needed right now.
Soul is the latest Pixar venture, who were once the ultimate animated powerhouse in the 2000’s, who then became the ultimate animated sellouts in the 2010’s. I hate seeing this once consistently upper class studio churn out throwaway entertainment as quickly as Marvel does. 2015’s Inside Out was their last outstanding movie since the 2000’s. Then on Christmas Day Soul came out on Disney+ and it really did feel like a Christmas present from Pixar as it’s the best thing they have made since Inside Out and their 2000’s movies.
It’s not too much of a surprise as it was directed by Pete Doctor, the last guy at Pixar with a flawless track record as he made the previously mentioned Inside Out, Up and Monsters Inc. All of his movies focus on a certain aspect of the human emotion, his first was about the fear of monsters, the next was about getting old and losing loved ones and after that was a movie literally all about the emotions in your head. Now we’re focusing on the fear of what happens after death and the purpose of being alive. Joe Gardner is a music teacher and wannabe jazz player who finally gets his break when he has the opportunity to join a jazz band, but then he dies! Joe is now a soul on his way to The Great Beyond until he escapes and ends up in The Great Before. Joe meets a baby soul named 22 and the two go on an adventure, and we’re putting the brakes on right here.
I understand the complaint that Soul can be boiled down to another Inside Out, but I love Inside Out and I definitely needed another at this point in my life. I’d say the only key difference between the two is that Soul is going to resonate with adults more than children. I know it did with me as I’m going through something a little similar to Joe, but replace wannabe jazz musician with aspiring author. Joe’s calling is jazz and one of the messages of this movie is that following your dreams to the ends of the Earth may not always be the best call. That’s just one of the takeaways from this movie, this is what Pixar used to do all the time and it’s nice to see it return. Simplifying these tough-love topics while still treating us with enough intelligence to let us come to our own conclusions.
What else this movie does well is it’s a little less predictable then most Pixar films. Joe and 22 are a great and fascinating pairing, voiced wonderfully by Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey. The rest of the cast is great along with some pretty good humour. It got me hooked right from the start and that kept going all the way to the end. I loved it! You also have the animation and it’s Pixar so what else is there to expect other than perfection. Soul has an advantage over this year’s Onward as it’s just more mesmerising. When Joe gets lost in his music and the background is replaced with dark purple, 10/10. The only downside is I wish I could have first experienced this in a cinema, but Disney insisted everyone needed to watch it at home, even though where I live we’re pretty much COVID free. Disney, how come Soul never got the 2020 Mulan Premier Access pay wall treatment? I’m glad it didn’t, but at least then the $34 toll would make complete sense as this one movie absolutely kills all the Disney+ originals that have been released so far.
In a year almost filled with misery the most important lesson I took away from Soul is it made me appreciate how great it is to be alive and I lived long enough to see this gem. Soul is pretty damn close to perfect in my eyes, but give me another watch first to confirm that. If you already have Disney+ then you have no excuse not to catch this before the year closes, as its a movie everyone needs to see. It took the whole bloody year, but we finally have our first Blog Complainer approved movie. Stay tuned for the best and worst lists and I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out.