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As the year of 2020 comes to a close, there’s a handful of much anticipated films that the world will be turning their attention to in the coming weeks. And while the world at large is going to have to wait until Christmas Day to see Disney/Pixar’s Soul, the critical community has already seen the finished product, with today marking the day they are officially allowed to share their thoughts. In these early moments, it looks like the animation powerhouse has another hit on its hands, though it does come with some caveats.
Starting with our own home team review, CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell is one of the critics who has thrown in their ruling on Soul. Giving directors Pete Doctor and Kemp Powers’ film a perfect five star rating, he praises Soul with the following glowing terms in our official review:
It’s vintage Pixar, and is guaranteed to be one of this year’s greatest films.
Originally set to be released into theaters this past June, Soul found itself being delayed to the fall for further theatrical hopes. However, Disney eventually decided to push the film to a Christmas release, as a perfect streaming debut for families at home for the holidays. It was an unconventional move for a movie that looks to be equally outside the box, which is a case that’s only bolstered by critic Perri Nemiroff’s review:
It doesn't coalesce quite as well as some other Pixar films, but Soul is still a stunning, highly imaginative and poignant piece that continues to prove Pixar is one of the boldest and most innovative animation studios out there.
Soul takes its audience through a journey to the Great Before, where the soul of jazz musician/teacher Joe (Jamie Foxx) must travel to find a way to get back to the earthly realm. Part of the magic that the entire project encapsulates is the fact that it boasts music from both Mank and Watchmen co-composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as well as contributions from jazz impresario/The Late Late Show with Stephen Colbert band leader Jon Baptiste. That melodic harmony contributes heavily to the success of Soul, as seen in the following remarks made by Aaron Neuwirth from We Live Entertainment:
A music-filled celebration of life.
Of course, with a Disney/Pixar movie, you’re going to expect some laughs to fill in the spots where you’re not crying or thinking rather deeply. Soul seems to have that aspect covered as well, as you’ll see in this excerpt from Kate Sanchez at But Why Tho:
Soul offers humor, yes. But it also offers a heart-filled exploration of life, living, and our impact that sometimes we forget to realize.
However, not everyone’s going to be totally on board with Soul. While Jordan Rulmy with World of Reel’s review was ultimately positive, there were definitely caveats to be included. Those conditions included this constructive criticism:
Yes, it can be funny and clever, but it feels too complacent and self-aggrandizing for its own good, a little too full of itself, to truly soar above the clouds like its predecessors.
As critics are now about to flood the market with their reactions, the viewing public is obviously going to become more hyped for Soul to make its joyful noise for Disney+ when it debuts on Christmas Day. We’ll see where the film ends up in terms of mass success closer to the end of the year; but that’s not where the music ends. You can read our 2020 review schedule to see what tunes will be climbing up the charts throughout the rest of the year, be it at home or in theaters near you.