Jamie Foxx leads an all-star cast in this hilarious, heart-filled adventure. Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” introduces Joe, who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.
For in-depth thoughts on Soul, please see my colleague Dom Fisher’s review from its original theatrical release here.
Soul comes to Blu-Ray with a stunning and vibrant 1080p transfer. In all honesty, it is hard to imagine a new Blu-Ray release looking better. The colors present in this transfer are practically leaping off the screen with the wide range of hues permeating every inch of the frame. There are various environments that allow the transfer to show off in different ways including the natural Earth, The Great Beyond and The Great Before. The textures, from the character designs to the environments, are extremely impressive and give the film a real sense of depth. The time spent in the real world offers up moments so photorealistic that it is a bit scary. One of the areas where Pixar continues to surpass each previous effort is the fluidity of the character designs. All of the individual strands of hair are unique and showcased in a subtly more natural way. The level of detail these animators put into each environment shines through here. Black levels are incredibly strong with no hint of compression artifacts or digital anomalies of the sort. This is about as close to perfect as a Blu-Ray disc can look. There is a 4K UHD Blu-Ray available, but that was not made available to me for review. I can only guess that it is so gorgeous that it will make you faint.
This Blu-Ray utilizes a DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track that gives this music-centric film a real vitality. There is an emphasis on the front channels for a good portion of the sounds, but activity kicks in to the surrounds and rears during performance sequences and action-oriented bits. The importance of music to the narrative cannot be undervalued, and this track pumps these lovely notes straight through your body in a really satisfying, enveloping way. Dialogue is crisp and clear without ever getting lost amongst the music or sound effects. The low end effects from the subwoofer give certain moments that much-needed extra weight to completely sell it for the audience. Atmospheric sound effects are rendered appropriately within the mix so that directionality is never an issue. This track really opens up in a supremely impressive manner that engages all of the speakers. There is a reason Soul was nominated in the Best Sound category at the Academy Awards. The creative team knew what they were doing to create this world, and it could not sound more satisfying. Soul will have you soaring from the uplifting aspects of this track.
- Audio Commentary: Director Pete Docter, Producer Dana Murray, and Co-Writer/Co-Director Kemp Powers deliver a truly delightful and information-packed track that any fan of the film is sure to love. Their passion for the project is readily apparent, and the insight they have at their disposal reveals fascinating insights into the story, the performances, the production and more.
- Not Your Average Joe: A ten-minute featurette which delves into all of the important aspects of our main character played by Jamie Foxx. In this piece, a nice array of cast and crew discuss Joe’s journey, the embodiment of the character by Jamie Foxx, the benefits of a diverse crew and much more.
- Astral Taffy: An eight-minute look into how the creative team went about designing the “Soul World” of the movie and the inspirations they took from real life. The creative team highlights many elements that might be easy to overlook the first time you watch the film.
- Pretty Deep For A Cartoon: A nearly seven-minute featurette which explores the story in a bit more depth including some of the larger themes that director Pete Doctor loves to play with and some of the lessons learned along the way.
- Into the Zone – The Music and Sound of Soul: An eight-minute featurette which answers all of your questions about the audio elements of the film. Learning about how all of these elements were created or brought together is an invaluable experience.
- Soul, Improvised: A seven-minute look at how the creative team adapted once the pandemic hit and the whole world was upended. This is a nice time capsule of the difficult time that we still continue to struggle through and the perseverance of creativity.
- Jazz Greats: A three-minute piece in which notable jazz musicians weigh in on the music in the feature as well as the story as a whole. This is one of the more fun videos on the disc.
- Deleted Scenes: A 22-minute assortment of unused material that is not to be missed. After an introduction from writer Mike Jones and story supervisor Kristen Lester, you get to see scenes of Joe sneaking into a Mentor Orientation program, a visit to 22’s secret lair, a publicity photoshoot session and more gems. Don’t forget to make time for these if you are a fan of the film.
- Trailers: Three trailers are provided here totaling slightly over six minutes which offer a perspective from abroad that is neat to see.
Soul is not only one of the best animated films of the year, but it is one of the most enriching films of the year period. Every element from the powerful story to the stunning animation and vocal performances works together in tandem to create something quite magical. Disney and Pixar have released a Blu-Ray that is beyond reproach, as it sports a flawless A/V presentation and a surprising assortment of special features. Pixar continues to be one of the most exciting brands under the Disney umbrella thanks to their willingness to tackle fresh ideas. This one is sure to be a favorite in many collections. Highly Recommended
Soul is currently available to purchase on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Disney Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.