Either I’m literally the epitome of The Grinch or I’m simply just not grasping the full scope of these recent Pixar efforts like so many are. I got little soul!
Good voice acting. Great music. GREAT themes. INCREDIBLY CREATIVE ANIMATION — Pixar are seriously hitting artistic strives by fabricating the nimbler version of Interstellar’s fifth dimensional wormhole! Yet, I still strongly believe that we tend to overlook how dreadfully negligent Pixar has become when it comes to writing plots. I nearly lost count of how many times something preposterously convenient happened in this movie to evoke/solve a last minute character quarrel or perpetuate a new sentimental drive to the narrative. It reminds me of the stories I used to hatch up on the spot when I was like a 7-year-old kid playing with my LEGOs:
one day, unlikely minifigure meets unlikely minifigure and they go on an adventure but suddenly monster attacks and monster dies because minifigures gain superpowers granted by a random savior but the random savior turns out to actually be MEAN and they have a big melodramatic fight but then big melodramatic fight ends almost immediately because they need new character arcs… plus friendship and heroism and stuff… and they all get married happily ever after on The Empire State Building after knowing each other for only five minutes… FIN.
See? Kids are just naturally ludicrous in story logic, huh? Obviously, my example here is a vague, quick-jotted analogy of what Pixar’s writing reminds me of, but to straighten things out, I’m just claiming that if Soul was labeled as an adult movie, I guarantee people would be nailing it harder for how it colorlessly structures conflict and solution. Being a “kid movie” shouldn’t excuse an adult-run company for having “kid writing,” especially if you’re going to bring themes into the mix that are kind of mature for the average children’s flick. Usually, you should strive for equilibrium between qualities, whether that be, like my example, between plotting and motifs.
ANDGOODGOLLY: Soul’s ending is Toy Story 3’s climax’s cop-out, convoluted buffoonery ALL over again! How many moral violations did those abstract sentient beings commit considering you know… nevermind. No spoilers. Maybe another time. *Sigh*
I’ll give Soul the benefit of the doubt, HOWEVER, in consideration that this latest Pixar effort has possibly one of the most daring thematic explorations in the studio’s history thus far: “dissecting human narcissism in our conceptions of purpose.” Did not expect that REAL of a subject matter to be, even from Pixar, conveyed so sophisticatedly! Secondly, that animation, again, I must reiterate, gave me the LSD-trip of existential affirmation and comfort that I desperately needed on my last day of 2020 — what an “H-E-double hockey sticks” year it’s been, am I right?
“Soul” is now available to stream on Disney+.