From the studio whose recent release was Onward comes what could be perceived as a composite of their Coco and Inside Out.
Bursts of wit and jazz riffs exude from the exquisitely animated Soul (a deceptive moniker, perhaps). With striking set-pieces from inventive designs, a fast-paced metaphysical yarn from the ‘Hall of Everything’ to the ‘Zone’ offers surrealistic flights of fancy.
The intelligence in what is essentially key to maturation examining what gives as individual an unbridled joy adds up to a well-paced, outrageous winding trek.
The thrill of being able to join a musician like Dorothea (Angela Bassett) for an unfulfilled middle-school band instructor like Joe (Jamie Foxx) leads him to the Great Beyond. Looking like a blue blob in a dark void on a conveyor belt, he’ll dash in reverse to the Great Before.
Co-director Pete Doctor (Up, Inside Out) has a set-up that could invite comparisons to live-action films with Warren Beatty and Robin Williams. Feelings and emotions fill out quite a range in what is a trippy detour for the off-stepped on genial protagonist.
The personality and physicality comes more into play in this keen approach as Joe is tasked to rebellious unborn soul 22 (Tina Fey) to locate her spark. A determined Joe wants to get back in time for a life-changing performance, so he’ll need the backing of energetic renegade Moonwind (Graham Norton). Though Terry (Rachael House has other ideas about where he should end up).
The mundane posits striking pastels while brightly hued pastels make up the Great Before. Celestial beings who mostly are called Jerry (like Alice Braga) are Picasso-like squiggly humorists as round cuddly figures make up the souls in a wondrous coexistence of the physical and spiritual.
Norton and House exhibit much zest in their vocalizing, transposed with Foxx offering a lost vulnerability to go along with surfacing passion. A feisty Fey conveys what it takes to get past the scoffing to experience the irritating besides the delights.
An incisive appeal of the mystical with a hippie-age flair adds to the importance coming from unanticipated pathways. Inhabiting each moment with lasting, tenable ardor is part of an insightful, captivating “Soul” knowing how to let our essence take flight.