9/10 A film I was only mildly excited to see and having a trailer that didn’t actually tell me too much about the film, “Soul” ended up being surprisingly amazing and probably the best directed Pixar film ever made. The less you know going in the better, but “Soul” does have shades of “Inside Out” in it, but is way better as I was one of the few who found “Inside Out” to be disappointing and overrated. What makes “Soul” so great is that it works on so many different levels…or scales in this case. The concept is original and works for both children and adults. The visuals blew me away in their creativity and how multiple styles of animation are used. The music is part of the film’s DNA and with the possible competition from “Up”, I would argue that this has the best film score out of any Pixar film ever. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, along with Jon Batiste, craft probably the best score out of any 2020 film. Reznor and Ross, coming off of the recent “Mank” had their best year ever in terms of the music they created. This score does have shades of “Gone Girl”, but everything they created here worked. “Soul” has breathtaking animation, an emotional hook and important messaging. In hard times we often question why we exist, what’s the point of getting out of bed every morning, what we were put on this Earth to do. “Soul” tackles those tough, adult questions but through a lens that children will enjoy, even if they don’t appreciate the deeper meanings. The voice cast is nearly flawless (with only one exception I will get to later) and the world created here is vastly imaginative and engrossing. At an hour and a half, the running time is perfectly paced and you won’t want to stop watching. As for the minor hiccups, when it comes to the voice cast, Tina Fey does a great job but her character says she picked her voice because she wanted an annoying sounding voice to upset people. Fey’s voice is not annoying to me and Pixar could have easily casted someone like Fran Drescher or an actress with a much more annoying, shrill voice if that’s what they were going for. Also, despite how incredible this film is, in a year when “Onward” also came out, I will give “Onward” the advantage in terms of getting the audience emotionally attached. The rules of the universe on display get a little fuzzy at times too. That being said, none of the minor flaws should detract you from seeing this. With 2020’s “Onward” and “Soul” both getting a 9/10 review, Pixar had an incredible year and co-writer/director Pete Docter keeps putting out brilliant work for the studio. In what is sure to be Damien Chazelle’s favorite Pixar film, I feel foolish to have underestimated this, as it was just the encouraging and uplifting film the end of 2020 needed. A must see for kids and adults alike.

#DjangoUnchainedMelody / #30RockAndSoul / #JamieFoxxtrot / #JustWhatTheDocterOrdered / #Catch22 / #JERRY!JERRY!JERRY!

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