Soul

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Re: Soul

Post by Bill1978 » December 24th, 2020, 8:01 pm

I'm still disappointed that Disney didn't choose to at least put Soul into Australian cinemas (like WB have with Wonder Woman 1984 and Dreamsworks with Croods 2) over the Christmas/New Year break before dumping onto +. Guess this will have to wait until the DVD or whenever Hulu gets attached to + in Australia whatever comes first. Although maybe the wait will help me get excited for a movie that I have felt underwhelmed about since the first trailer.

I also find it weird they are happy to have Soul 'free' on + but are still planning on getting people to pay for Raya like they did with Mulan. I understand the big bottom line is money but I don't understand why Disney is making it so confusing for why some movies are free and others need to be paid for.

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Re: Soul

Post by Ben » December 24th, 2020, 9:34 pm

EricJ wrote:
December 24th, 2020, 5:12 pm
Christmas Day theater openings were always designed for that week-after-Christmas excuse for parents to get school-vacation kids out of the house before January anyway.
Actually, Christmas Day openings were designed for family (quite a few Walt movies) or prestigious event movies, and were sold as post-Crimbo dinner treat outings back in the day. More recently, a number of high-profile dramas open on this date to qualify a film for awards consideration, when their actual wide or international release doesn’t take place until January or February. Certainly not particularly enticing to kid audiences...!


Bill, I think Soul's jump to D+ is all about the time of year. I’m sure they’d love to charge Premiere Access fees for Soul, but it’s not an easy sell movie, or branded like Mulan, and giving it away is like they did with a couple of titles at the start of the pandemic: it's "good optics" for them and will likely bump subs numbers while making them look good for Christmas, offering something major and new for those wondering why they’re paying out each month, and potentially mitigating what might not have been a particularly big seller, whereas with Raya there’s already buzz building and they still have time to promote and hone the whole Access branding before that rollout.

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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 25th, 2020, 1:52 am

Ben wrote:
December 24th, 2020, 9:34 pm
Actually, Christmas Day openings were designed for family (quite a few Walt movies) or prestigious event movies, and were sold as post-Crimbo dinner treat outings back in the day.
And a few titles that studios occasionally wanted to "invisibly" toxic-dump without fanfare the week that critics were on vacation, like "Street Fighter", "Downsizing", and the Dungeons & Dragons movie. :lol:

Until Michael Eisner made the mistake of pulling Treasure Planet out of wide release in early December '02, and when the studios saw Paramount's Nickelodeon movie for the year pull in a kids' audience instead during Christmas week and January, the "Stressed-out parents" theory set in.
That's when we were in for an entire 00's of loud, studio-hyped CGI family movies with adult-recognizable properties and "Christmas Day" splashed on the poster, like Alvin 2, Fat Albert, Night at the Museum, Yogi Bear, and the Jack Black "Gulliver's Travels".
(The latter two of which ended the trend overnight, just in time for "Meet the Parents" to focus studio attention on Ben Stiller and old Robert DeNiro/Barbara Streisand "AARP comedies" instead.)

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Re: Soul

Post by Ben » December 25th, 2020, 4:52 am

See, there’s the case in point: Downsizing was given just that release exactly because it was seen as an awards hopeful ahead of a wider release in the new year.

And the other films you mention all fall into that family release pattern that’s been going as far back as the 40s, as mentioned, so nothing new there. (And, seriously, don’t be bashing Night At The Museum, the first one at least. That’s fightin' talk and, until recently, the best modern live-action Disney film Disney never made!)

As for the "trend", did you not notice the title that inspired this thread is, um, "opening" today? Along with a second blockbuster on a rival service pulling the same family treat trick in both being launched on, er, Christmas Day...? That most people will watch after spending time with family and Crimbo dinner? Just as they have done since the post-war 1940s... Yeah.

Merry Christmas! 🎄

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Re: Soul

Post by Dacey » December 25th, 2020, 11:01 am

Ben wrote:
December 25th, 2020, 4:52 am
(And, seriously, don’t be bashing Night At The Museum, the first one at least. That’s fightin' talk and, until recently, the best modern live-action Disney film Disney never made!)
Now I’m curious as to what took the mantle for you for that title. :wink: :)
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Re: Soul

Post by Farerb » December 25th, 2020, 12:46 pm

My thoughts about it are the same as what I think about all of Docter's films. It's technically good and competent, but I had no emotional investment while watching it. The same thing happened to me with Inside Out and Up, just feels like they are trying to hard and that it's too calculated to make me care.

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Re: Soul

Post by Ben » December 25th, 2020, 3:05 pm

Whoa...so I can see why they went the D+ route, as after opening weekend I can’t see that Soul would have been a long-running hit.

Think of an animated It's A Wonderful Life, tackling some deep and heavy Big Ideas in the way that fellow Pixar alumni Brad Bird did with Tomorrowland.

And while I did find things that were VERY funny about it, I’m not sure I actually *enjoyed* it fully, at least in its second half, where they kind of painted themselves into a corner and threw out the rules to help them turn it around.

But it’s an ambitious film — and certainly, in hindsight, either an odd or brave choice to shove on a family streaming service as a Christmas Day treat. I wonder how many families, and kids especially, will be out there scratching their heads at what they have just experienced tonight?

It’s overall a very downbeat film, without the magic or whimsey that makes Pixar's other Big Idea films feel much more light, and without a ticking clock that counts down to an exciting climax, or any kind of real climax at all for that matter, with far too much that felt cribbed from other existential dramas.

Overall an odd film, and certainly not one that made us feel all cosy and Christmassy afterwards, but an ambitious one, as I said, even if it didn’t really meet those ambitions head on. The concept is pretty ripe, but the execution didn’t feel too well thought out, or at least was too much of a big thing to really visualise and put into what is supposedly a family comedy, but turns out to be a pretty straight adult drama.

Kudos to Docter, as always, for shining the Pixar lamp in new places, though this time out the beams of usual genius didn't quite extend to the furthest reaches of the soul, or ultimately touch it.

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Re: Soul

Post by Dacey » December 25th, 2020, 3:22 pm

Do you think it might’ve worked better as a summer release? Or felt less dreary during a “normal” year as opposed to the one we’ve all had? (After this, I’m splitting the thread until I’ve watched the film!)
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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 25th, 2020, 3:24 pm

Ben wrote:
December 25th, 2020, 3:05 pm
Whoa...so I can see why they went the D+ route, as after opening weekend I can’t see that Soul would have been a long-running hit.
But it’s an ambitious film — and certainly, in hindsight, either an odd or brave choice to shove on a family streaming service as a Christmas Day treat. I wonder how many families, and kids especially, will be out there scratching their heads at what they have just experienced tonight?
Pixar's always done well in summer, as the "Default anti-blockbuster" that cleans up with audiences' trust when the other studios' don't, or for November when we're just starting our Christmas viewing, but it doesn't do well AT Christmas, except for hanging around till the aforementioned vacation week.

Both this and WW84 are streaming services trying to make "events" out of their theater downgrades, a sort of "We...MEANT to deliver your family living-room holiday cheer!", since the stigma on streaming-downgraded theatrical movies is still heavy, no one notices when they open without hype, and they need a mass "watch-party" of ratings as a show statistic in lieu of Record-Breaking Opening Weekends to justify their expense to the industry.
Overall an odd film, and certainly not one that made us feel all cosy and Christmassy afterwards, but an ambitious one, as I said, even if it didn’t really meet those ambitions head on. The concept is pretty ripe, but the execution didn’t feel too well thought out, or at least was too much of a big thing to really visualise and put into what is supposedly a family comedy, but turns out to be a pretty straight adult drama.
Haven't watched yet, but trailer looked like it was trying to mix Docter's old Pixar of crazy alternate places with the "ethnic family-album" of Foxx's jazz-teacher, and you need a strong story to focus on one or the other, let alone go for "Inside Out" sniffles.
And dipping one more time into the Dory well of "Frustrating female-comic sidekick" (which didn't help Cars 3 any) didn't freshen the hybrid.

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Re: Soul

Post by Randall » December 25th, 2020, 4:04 pm

Never fear... if Forum reviews makes you sad, RT still has a fresh rating of 97% for Soul, with lots of very positive reviews, though I did see the word "melancholy" being mentioned. So, while not perhaps exactly a feel-good Christmas movie for the whole family, my hopes are still high.
https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/soul_2020

Looks like it may depend on what type of film one was anticipating, or how one typically responds to Docter. (Personally, I thought that Inside Out was brilliant, while Up only had that first 10 minutes going for it, and the rest was just good.) That said, I'm happy to see Soul for myself later this weekend. But for Christmas, I'm watching It's a Wonderful Life again. (Christmas Eve was Muppet Christmas Carol, of course.)

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Re: Soul

Post by James » December 25th, 2020, 7:20 pm

Randall wrote:
December 25th, 2020, 4:04 pm
...(Personally, I thought that Inside Out was brilliant, while Up only had that first 10 minutes going for it, and the rest was just good.)...
I went the opposite way. Adored Up but thought Inside Out just had brilliant moments. (That may be a hint about which way I’m going with this one!)

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Re: Soul

Post by Ben » December 25th, 2020, 9:13 pm

Oh, don’t get me wrong: Soul is a fine movie, but it’s perhaps one to be admired for trying what it does rather than enjoying it for achieving those aims.

This is from someone who adores Up *and* Inside Out, a film that I thought absolutely achieved what it set out to do on many levels, and usually finds Docter to be the closest current animation director to be working on the level of those who collaborated with Walt in the Golden Age.

And not sure I agree with "Pixar doing well in the summer"…traditionally their films were issued in the Disney Thanksgiving spot until more recently, when even then they still made their mark on home video in time for the holidays. Indeed, I’ve always been more used to seeing the new Pixar at this time of year, since we always either had to wait to see them in cinemas until November, or wait and see the home video release. Indeed, Coco was our family Crimbo film this time last year — and ironically just played on network TV here today as the big free to air premiere — so Soul comes just around that same time...but this time it’s just not that kind of traditional whimsey that nourishes as much as it lifts our spirits.

In no way is this a repeatable classic like those earlier films, as ambitious and admirable as it is.

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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 26th, 2020, 12:48 pm

Ben wrote:
December 25th, 2020, 9:13 pm
Oh, don’t get me wrong: Soul is a fine movie, but it’s perhaps one to be admired for trying what it does rather than enjoying it for achieving those aims.
This is from someone who adores Up *and* Inside Out, a film that I thought absolutely achieved what it set out to do on many levels
Inside Out is a classic, and I was "meh" on Up but liked Carl & Russell, and Inside Out was the first thing I thought about how fluidly Pixar could explain abstract concepts and still put them in funny characters and environments, AND generate some real emotion for Joy and Riley.
Here, know what Docter wanted to say, and probably had some real-life jazz teacher he wanted to homage, but when the Great Beyonds are barely explained, and the only people who can are Picasso doodles, it looked like it needed a little more development off the pencil storyboard sketches.

My other comparison was Disney's Wreck-It Ralph:
22 was basically "We paid for Tina Fey, we're going to use Tina Fey!" (not only do I not find Fey funny, I use her as the illustrated example of why 21st-cty. female comics stopped being funny after Carol Burnett), since Ellen DeGeneres made it look too easy to plug Dory in as Obnoxiously Frustrating Sidekick who does wisecracking and randomly distracting things every time our hero tries to tell her something important.
Sarah Silverman is ten times more of a predatory-annoyance comic, and yet for all of Vannelope's obnoxiousness when we first meet her, we get to LIKE the character because she wants something, to be a racer. Here, 22 is obnoxious because she doesn't want anything, and is deliberately schoolyard-frustrating our character because...female comics find that funny, I've noticed. :?

That's a big obstacle if she's going to be the character who gets the big "Not a Flying Toy" third-act Pixar epiphany of realizing she was wrong, and we all sympathize with her (like when Amy Poehler as Joy realized that Sadness was important too)--Or wait, is Joe going to get the big NAFT, when he realizes life's not all about jazz and you have to play from the heart?
I sat through the whole movie in one sitting (which I don't usually do with streaming), not because I was hooked, but because I was waiting for that big Pixar scene just around the corner where I would emotionally connect with what the heck was going on...All the way to the end credits.

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Re: Soul

Post by Farerb » December 26th, 2020, 1:00 pm

I don't think Inside Out was a "classic". Felt too much over explained to the point that it felt like the audience is on a tourist trip "and you see kids this is place X where this and that happens", I also never found Bing Bong appealing, truthfully he was more annoying than Olaf.

Pete Docter excels at coming up with interesting concepts, but his executions tends to be same old same old. No doubt that both Inside Out and Soul had interesting original concepts, but in the end the execution makes them yet another buddy comedy in the same vein as most Pixar's, there's nothing wrong with it, but at this point I want something more in order to call a film "exceptional".

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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 26th, 2020, 1:59 pm

Farerb wrote:
December 26th, 2020, 1:00 pm
I don't think Inside Out was a "classic". Felt too much over explained to the point that it felt like the audience is on a tourist trip "and you see kids this is place X where this and that happens", I also never found Bing Bong appealing, truthfully he was more annoying than Olaf.
Inside Out felt "concept" from the trailer--remember when everyone joked "Wasn't that an old Fox sitcom?"--but by the climax where Riley's world is crumbling (literally), you're emotionally on edge. :shock:
22 looking the wonder of a maple seed didn't have the hi-grade Feels of the scene where Joy gives Riley her skating dream instead of a nightmare, unintentionally fueling the wrong motivations.
(But yes: Bing Bong, major annoying, once he was expanded to last-minute plot development.)

As for 22, there was a thread on Twitter about the death of a promising Utah college-football star that hashtagged "RIP #22".
I expanded on someone else's joke about "Darn, not that 22...", and got about two dozen likes within an hour. I suspect there may be an audience consenus afoot. :?

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