In a not too surprising announcement, yesterday it was announced that Pixar’s SOUL would be bypassing its expected Thanksgiving theatrical release date in favor of an exclusive Christmas Day debut on Disney +. While it’s a shame their latest won’t be seen on the big screen, I can tell you – SOUL looks like it might rank up there with Pixar’s best films. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure fo seeing the first half-hour of it to prepare for an early interview with co-directors Pete Docter (UP, INSIDE OUT) & Kemp Powers (writer of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI & “Star Trek: Discovery”), as well as producer Dana Murray, which you can find embedded above.
The footage that I saw is pretty bold as far as Pixar movies go. The early part of the film takes place in a hyper-realistic New York City and features Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner, a high school music teacher who’s also a frustrated musician. On the eve of his big break, he suddenly dies in a freak accident, taking him to the Great Beyond, where he has to fight to reclaim his earthbound body, with an unborn soul, voiced by Tina Fey, in tow.
What’s cool is the way the film shifts gears when Joe “dies”. While the earthbound scenes are more realistic than we’ve ever seen in a Pixar film, once we jump to “The Great Beyond”, the look of the film shifts gears to an adventurous, surreal look, with the soundtrack also shifting gears from Jazz in the early scenes to an avant-garde score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
While I can’t say how the rest of the film fares, the early scenes are just terrific and seem all but certain to land Pixar a Best Animated Film Oscar nomination, despite it’s streaming debut. While it’s a shame this won’t be appreciated on the big screen, I can tell you everyone who loves movies are in for a nice X-Mas gift this year when Soul makes it’s Disney + debut. It looks wonderful.