Pixar continues to show its dominance in the CG animation genre, and all of the set pieces are absolutely gorgeous. The voice cast is loaded with Grade A talent, including Graham Norton, Richard Ayoade, Questlove, and Daveed Diggs.
I also appreciate how Pixar refuses to dumb down a story for children, which usually helps people of any age enjoy them. But it just so happens to be the big flaw with Soul. This is not a movie for kids and not because there’s anything objectionable. The material is not suitable for kids, and by that, I mean it’s not enjoyable to kids. Not that my kid represents all children, but Soul did not fly in my house.
Don’t misinterpret this comment, but there’s not much marketable in Soul. Kids are not going to rush out and buy Joe dolls. They might buy his glasses, maybe? Even the cute puff balls that litter the heavenly realm of Soul won’t cut it because they are not worth the $15 price tag at the Disney store. IMPORTANT: not making marketable toys is not a failure at all, but it’s a reflection that the younger set will not gravitate toward the film or its characters.
“Kids are not going to rush out and buy Joe dolls. They might buy his glasses, maybe?”
So what if Soul is not meant for kids? My response to that is there’s a conflict between the medium and the message. I’m being told a very adult story with cute cartoon characters that bothered me throughout. It’s like seeing a grand opera sung by puppets. Why not just make this a live-action story or design the characters more sophisticated?
My complaint could also be construed as an issue of preference. Cartoons should be for kids. The problem is, to me, my constant battle of cognitive dissonance from start to finish. It was so hard to take this story seriously.
Should Pixar go back to making kids’ films? No, please don’t. That’s a Pixar trademark, but just as a movie skewed toward kids will bore adults, Soul will bore children, and it did mine. I love jazz, but I don’t think my child will add it to her Spotify playlist. In the end, Soul told a good, insightful story but was too much of a departure from the norm.
"…a very adult story with cute cartoon characters..."