Reel Reviews | Soul

By Charles Kirkland Jr.

Jamie Foxx plays a jazz musician who is trying to catch the break of his life in the Disney/Pixar animated feature, Soul.

Joe has just gotten an offer to teach music full-time at the middle school where he has been working for three years.  This makes his mother extremely happy but Joe desires to get the one gig that has eluded him all his career.

Written and directed by Pete Doctor (Up, Inside Out) and Kemp Powers (One Night In Miami), Soul features the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Questlove, and Angela Bassett in the first Pixar animated feature with an African American lead character.

Soul is a very intelligent feature.  It talks about finding your purpose and your spark and how the two may seem the same but are completely different.  It is a very complex and ambitious proposal because it may help people realize things about themselves that they may not be accepted about obsessions and passions.  Kemp Powers, who turned in an outstanding movie debut with his One Night in Miami, keeps the movie grounded by penning Joe as a regular guy to whom we can all relate because we all have had a greater desire.

Check out Tim Gordon’s Reel Review, below:

Pixar is the leader in animation today having won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature 10 out of 19 times since the category came into existence.  The animation in this feature is no different.  The colors are bright and the animation flows easily.  They even step up the animation by having two distinct styles in the same feature with the life-like animation of Joe’s world and then the fantasy animation of the spirit world.

Now the bad news.  This movie is lost in its nature.  It is a very heady and high concept film that communicates even over the heads of some adults.  It is doubtful that any child will grasp the concepts shared.  While the animation is attractive, the story has nothing that a child could laugh at or relate to.  Many children will be disappointed by this feature and many adults will as well.

Rated PG for thematic elements and some language, Soul is a smart animated feature that goes to a level never before reached by Pixar.  It is a stunning technical achievement backed by a script that is well-conceived and cohesive however, this is not a film for children.  It may be too highbrow for many adults.  This may be Pixar’s first box office flop.

Grade:  C