Film review: ‘Soul’ will be enjoyed by many

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There comes a time in ever movie reviewer’s career where he must set aside his own personal feelings and judge a movie on its merits. Such is the case with Pixar’s latest heart-warmer, “Soul”.

Personally, I don’t care for “Soul.” I watched it with my family Christmas night, when it debuted on the Disney+ streaming service, and we all saw a film that did not live up to its potential. But at the same time, I would be foolish to dismiss the clear heart and soul that went into making another excellent animated movie.

“Soul” is a movie that will be enjoyed by many. I just need to get over myself.

Joe Gardner is a middle school music teacher with dreams of playing jazz piano professionally. But then on the very day he gets a promising gig at a jazz club downtown, Joe falls through an open manhole and dies. Cast off to the waiting room of the afterlife, Joe must scramble to find a way back to life in order to fulfill his jazz dreams.

I hold Pixar movies to a pretty high standard, perhaps unfairly. Once upon a time, Pixar was the platinum standard for emotional animated movies. That shine has dulled in recent years, but they still put out quality movies. Earlier this year, Pixar released “Onward”, and it was pretty good. But I feel that “Soul” is not a return to the old days.

“Soul” is good. It’s probably better than I’m letting on. The visuals are very good, the characters are well-drawn and the movie definitely gets its message across. And I’m sure many will say that “Soul” gets its message across very well.

I just felt Pixar could have been bolder. I felt a lot more could have been done to tie the message more to the music and the characters. And I felt the ending took a lot of easy cop outs. I thought “Soul” was a pedestrian effort.

But even still, “Soul” is another quality entry in the Pixar lineup. It’s smart, touching and gorgeously animated. It also takes the time to add in some hijinks for the kids, in case they get lost in the big questions about life and death.

I’m not about to force my personal opinions on anyone looking for a fun, new Disney and Pixar movie to watch this holiday season. So I definitely recommend watching and hopefully enjoying “Soul”.

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