A declaration of love to life: “Soul”, the new animated film by director Pete Docter sets new standards and writes another chapter in the success story of Pixar and Disney.
There are, rarely only, pearls among feature films that leave even hard-boiled film critics wordless at first.
If the speechlessness continues, is of positive origin and due to the genius of the filmmakers, it is advantageous to refrain from reproducing the film content in the form of a summary in a film review. Because one can trust one’s readers to such a film with confidence. A global audience film that lives up to its definition doesn’t need a viewing guide anyway. Recommending that Pixar’s “Soul” is one of the best three motion pictures of the last two years will have to do!
“Soul” by Pixar: a must-see not only for cinema fans
The theatrical release of “Soul,” like so many other promising feature films this year, has been delayed several times. Still, it should be a real godsend for many viewers that this brilliant animated film from Pixar is now accessible in their own homes at Disney+.
“Soul” has cinema quality in every respect. Like the soundtrack and the sound design, the visuals deserve the biggest possible screen and a perfect sound system. Conversely, this film is a ray of hope especially in difficult times with an uncertain future and therefore a welcome Christmas gift. “Soul” gives its audience not only the best entertainment in a way that is as unpretentious as it is entertaining. But also new perspectives. And this film is an honest, deserving candidate for many Academy Awards. Not only as animated best movie. But also as a live-action film.
“Soul” is a masterpiece. Cinematically, artistically, musically, cinematically and narratively. It is the most mature and intelligent feature film Pixar has ever produced. Kids and teens won’t be scared by this animated film, but they will miss the overarching and, this time, plot-relevant context to a far greater degree than is usually the case in this genre. Such a thing takes courage and would not have been expected from the mouse house behind the film, Disney. Of course: Artistic freedom was already considered a high good at Pixar in the years of John Lasseter and Ed Catmull and the art of film knows no limits within the production budget, the marketing strategy and the agreement with the target markets of a Hollywood film – nevertheless, a cinematic masterpiece like “Soul” can not be planned. Such a wonderful film, wise and emotional at the same time, is always a small miracle.
|Joe Gardner||Jamie Foxx|
|Dorothea Williams||Angela Bassett|
|Drehbuch||Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers|
|DoP||Matt Aspbury, Ian Megibben|
|Musik||Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross|
Film director Pete Docter plays the keyboard of the animated film more virtuously than anyone else at the moment. It is, to paraphrase “Soul”, as if the plan of creation had chosen him to make some of the best animated films in the world with absolute skill and maximum humanly possible passion. Walt Disney, also a master at understanding the adult world, would have been delighted with this animated film, which is groundbreaking on so many levels, but might also have privately reprimanded the director in a fatherly way for clearly hinting at the end of “Soul” that there are far more important things in life than one’s own goals and passions. Such a statement is not free of irony. This has less to do with the film, but a lot to do with Hollywood: Pixar is regarded far beyond Hollywood as an employer that demands from its employees not only a commitment to its purpose, but also working days whose length makes a normal family life almost impossible. Which leads back to passion.
Like any good animated film, “Soul” offers the mix – inimitably perfected at Pixar – of skillful storytelling, subtle humor and seriousness, combined with a deeper, universal message. But beyond that, the director succeeds in what film pioneer Abel Gance recognized more than a hundred and twenty years ago as the true secret of cinematic art: putting a little sun into every frame, into every scene. It is these little suns that, together with the love of life, make up the true secret of “Soul”. Whether in the form of music, visuals, dialogue or surprising details, they all shine brightly and heartwarmingly straight into the viewer’s soul.
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