With two releases this year, Pixar has saved the best for last with Soul, a symbolic sequel to Pete Docter’s previous outing, the sublime Inside Out, Soul captures the magic of previous Pixar classics while never treading old ground in the same way Onward did earlier in the year. Following Jazz musician and teacher Joe (Jamie Foxx) who upon finally getting his big break after years of grifting unexpectedly dies and finds himself facing the great beyond. However he is desperate to return to his life and more specifically his body, not wishing to leave things unfinished down on Earth. So begins a film that constantly jumps from adventure to adventure, always moving and flowing through some of the best animation in Pixar history. Be it the bustle of New York city streets or the strange abstract locations of heaven above, Soul is beautifully realised right down to the blades of bluegrass that populate Docter’s version of what comes after/before.
Led by a pitch perfect performance by Foxx, Soul speaks to the value of life by practicing what it preaches. Constantly told that life is for living, its a message that would feel unpleasantly sickly if it wasn’t for a film so intent on enjoying the little things. Be it getting lost in the most outlandish dance to avoid the monotony of work or experiencing something new for the first time. Soul is a film of first times and stories worth sharing with others. Docter has crafted the true Pixar family feature here, not because it plays to both a young and older audience, even though it does, but because this is best enjoyed surrounded by others, getting swept up in the music, the comedy and most of all the bright lights and colour of a story that just dives right in and lives.