Soul

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Re: Soul

Post by Ben » December 26th, 2020, 4:57 pm

Which is exactly why I fell on the side of thinking that Disney made a very shrewd call in adding this to D+ rather than attempting too much of a costly theatrical release...

Soul certainly isn’t a film for the masses, not that this is always such a bad thing.

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Re: Soul

Post by Randall » December 27th, 2020, 11:19 am

We viewed it last night, and we all LOVED it (my kids are 13 and 19). But I can see that it's not necessarily a crowd pleaser or a film for little kids. This isn't really a kid's movie, it's a mature film. I wouldn't even call it a comedy, as it sets the wrong expectations and it hit me much deeper than that. There's lots of humour, of course, but there's so much more to it than that.

As with any film, it depends on what you bring to it. I'm middle-aged, and long ago set aside some of my dreams, while focusing on the achievable. In short, I made new dreams, and managed to do a whole lot of other really cool things. (e.g. I haven't ended up working in comics, but I edited Stan Lee's last published essay, for the book We Spoke Out. And hey - I also married a tropical island princess, so that's been cool.) I totally empathized with Joe, though I learned the same lessons much younger.

This certainly is not the standard "follow your dreams at all costs" type of tale. It's a much more grown-up, realistic message. While some may see that as bittersweet or melancholy, at my age I find that the film's theme is simply true to life.

I'm sorry that Eric didn't get his "emotional connection moment" in Soul, especially since we seem to agree on the other Docter films; but I totally did. (And I know exactly what he means, too; I find many Pixar films to be "just okay" for much of their run times, until that big moment comes and feels so brilliant.) I did like how Joe and 22 had a role reversal during the course of the film, and I didn't find 22 annoying at all - I found her much more "Vanellope" than "Dory." (Actually, I liked her more than Vanellope.) And she DID want something, though that "something" changed from the beginning of the film to the end, due to character development.

I appreciated the cubist design to the otherworldly characters. It's about time that characters in an animated film didn't all look so standardized. They were unique and interesting. My only nitpick might be that the scenes away from Earth often looked so sparse, like they had no idea of how to make the backgrounds more interesting.

My wife and I planned to watch another film after, but it took a while to pick something. We were both pretty moved by Soul, and it sat with us for a while. Eventually, the only film I could possibly see myself watching afterward was It's a Wonderful Life, which carries such a similar theme. So, we watched that. And it still holds up as my second-favourite film.

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Re: Soul

Post by Ben » December 27th, 2020, 6:12 pm

Word.

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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 27th, 2020, 9:02 pm

(Anyone guess how I would be treated if I thought it was cute to make the same non-contributive running-gag one-word non-response to every thread?)

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Re: Soul

Post by gaastra » December 27th, 2020, 10:00 pm

Soul doing well overseas in theatres. (yes they got it in theatres!)


https://deadline.com/2020/12/wonder-wom ... 234661795/

Disney/Pixar’s Soul strummed into 10 overseas markets this weekend, jazzing its way to a $7.6M start. The lead play was China with $5.5M for the three-day and double what Onward did earlier this year. Although that was good for just No. 4 behind three local titles, social and critical scores are superb at 9.6 from Maoyan, a 9.5 on Tao Piaopiao and a 9.2 on Douban. These are among the highest for any Disney release while word of mouth pushed significant daily increases throughout the frame (+179% from Friday to Saturday and +52% Saturday to Sunday) as the movie moved up the chart.
The Pete Docter-directed original story also bowed in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Thailand, landing at No. 2 in each. Taiwan ($800K) was above the openings of both Onward and Moana; Saudia Arabia ($400K) and UAE ($200K) doubled the start of Croods 2.

Soul is playing digitally in markets where Disney+ exists, and will go theatrical elsewhere meaning that China, Korea and Russia are the key hubs for the film. The later two are currently scheduled for late January.

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Re: Soul

Post by Farerb » December 28th, 2020, 12:48 am

Although I have no emotional investment in the movie and I probably won't buy the 4K, I am rooting for it to be nominated for Best Picture.

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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 28th, 2020, 5:00 am

I dunno, I'd still watch Onward again...

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Re: Soul

Post by Ben » December 28th, 2020, 5:38 am

Word.

;)

As in...I agreed with a lot of what Rand said (I made the Wonderful Life comparison and other very similar points in my first post on this a few back up) and didn't have time to pick apart the one or two points I may not have totally agreed with...but I agreed with a lot, as I said in my first and second posts.

Soul is a very fine film. I don't think it totally achieves its ambitions, but it’s great to see such a film dealing with these kinds of Big Ideas, even if those ideas do seem to have maybe been a little too unwieldy to "contain" in an ostensibly entertainment movie. And I loved the abstract Picasso-esque squiggled characters *because* they are just that: an abstract in an abstract concept. Of course they would look like that!

I can’t actually wait to watch the 4K. As usual, D+ didn’t look the best, and I’ve a feeling that, while i said Soul might not be too much of an entertaining repeater, a second viewing would allow me to watch the film on its own terms, knowing what it borrows from other sources and how it bends its own rules to make things work to its own ends. Not always satisfactorily, but certainly with more nourishment than what is usually expected from such "product" (Pete Docter aside).

Again as with Tomorrowland, it’s sometimes cool to see a film reaching for more even if it’s doesn’t always achieve it, as opposed to the dressed-up but ultimately over-simplification of Onward, which we finally watched the next night and I didn’t find too special at all, as entertaining as it was, mostly because the was no real reason that the characters had to be magical/mythical beings. I did quite like the payoff, though, in that Holland's character didn’t get to see his Dad (or, at least, meet him). Yes, Pratt's brother was there, but the fact that Holland didn’t run up the hill and make contact — and it was *his* story — just emphasises that you can’t really bring people back from the dead, so it was always an unachievable goal.

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Re: Soul

Post by Farerb » December 28th, 2020, 5:53 am

The ending of Onward was good but everything leading to this moment was just the same buddy comedy road trips we tend to see in animated movies. Soul's concept and ideas were much more interesting even if the execution lacked something.
But again, I really want WDAS and Pixar to move away from the buddy comedy formula (nothing wrong with it but it is becoming repetitive nowadays). I thought that with Lasseter gone, they'll finally be able to break away from that and do something different.

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Re: Soul

Post by Randall » December 28th, 2020, 8:54 am

Soul was approximately 3.8x the movie that Onward was. Sure, Onward was entertaining, but I agree with what you guys have said - nothing really special, weak use of concept, and just another buddy picture. Ho-hum. Plus, the ending wasn't "sold" to me very well at all. While Ian couldn't make it over to see his dad, why the heck couldn't the dad have strolled over to see HIM? After a whole film of Dad travelling all over the countryside with his boys, it didn't seem too much to ask for him to walk up the hill. Good idea for the ending, but not well executed.

Soul, on the other hand, was so much richer in ambition. And I'll always take an ambitious film over a well-made ho-hum film.

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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 28th, 2020, 2:35 pm

It's weak and I didn't say it was their best, but of the two that came out this year, Onward's the one I'd still remember next year:
As I said, my big, big, big, BIG problem with Soul was the lack of any character empathy to follow--Joe seems like the kind of band teacher you'd want to have, but every time he tries to follow his dream, the movie beats into him (and us) how empty that dream is and his life is...Oh. :(

For all of Onward's weak plot, it's Barley's happily self-delusional gung-ho Mighty-Warrioreth act that propels the film along, he takes us along for his nutty ride, and we don't really sympathize with Ian, who seems so much like the standard "Timid shell" Pixar hero, it starts to bring up bad flashbacks of Arlo from Good Dinosaur.
22, OTOH, brags with a repellently smug look about having deliberately trolled Copernicus, Lincoln and Gandhi because she was feeling snarky, and that's not a "tragic self-delusion" you want to see awakened by the third act, that's just someone you want to punch.

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Re: Soul

Post by Randall » December 28th, 2020, 3:12 pm

Fair enough.

Hmmm... See, I maybe didn't have empathy for how empty Joe's life was, but I certainly had sympathy. What I had empathy with was that he had a passion; and, like any of us, that he needed to figure out what to do with it, and how to balance his life - something he had been failing at doing. And I was happy for him in the end when he began to figure out how to embrace his passion without forgetting to embrace daily life.

And personally, I was more likely to punch Barley than 22. He had endearing traits, but I find cluelessness more annoying than snarkiness. :)
Last edited by Randall on December 28th, 2020, 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Soul

Post by Randall » December 28th, 2020, 3:19 pm

And I do have to add that I do recognize the film's glaring faults in terms of adhering to its own rules. One really needs to look past a few rather obvious problems (like, is Joe dead or not?!?!? what's the issue with the cat's soul?). While watching it, though, I was too wrapped up in the story to care, even if I wasn't oblivious to the issues even at the time. And I did like most of the ending, other than it maybe being a bit happier and tidy than it needed to be.

Onward had the opposite issue for me. I wasn't all that engaged, so by the time I got to the end, I wasn't willing to give the film a break when it botched the ending.

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Re: Soul

Post by James » December 29th, 2020, 3:39 pm

Soul review is up!

https://animatedviews.com/2020/soul-film

Writing these things without spoilers is so very hard! Looking forward to making a few points I had to leave out here!

(BTW - forum posts from here on out will appear under the article as comments, so be nice for the newbies!)

EDIT: There's an issue with the comments so I haven't enabled them yet! Posting here is fine, but the comments under the review aren't there yet. Hopefully fixed! Let me know of any issues.

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Re: Soul

Post by EricJ » December 29th, 2020, 3:47 pm

The review reminded me that the one scene that really WORKED, and that they should have expanded into more of a running element, was the barbershop scene.
As it is, the movie's claustrophobic, with the two flawed dreamers competing over who's going to get their NAFT, but throwing in a few balanced supporting characters wakes things up, reminds us of the "everyday" things we're supposed to like, and 22's fish-out-of-water gags have a place to fit in without being annoying. If we'd seen a scene with Joe and the gang at the beginning, we could grasp his "my life's missing something" point earlier.

The Picasso-doodles were supposed to be the "supporting characters", but they're too abstract to have personalities or explain anything (at least on the level of Mean Dorothea's "fish" joke), and it was only by the end of the movie, when he's getting his big ambitious Randall Scarer-of-the-year award that I caught on that Terry was intended to be the closest thing the story had to an A->B antagonist...Oh. Huh. :?

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