Disney-Pixar’s Soul originally was expected to be released into theaters last summer. However, as the impact of COVID-19 hit the movie industry its release date found itself getting moved. Eventually, Soul was released directly to Disney+ on Christmas Day. It was a lovely Christmas gift from Disney to fans who had anticipated this film for quite some time. In the film, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle school teacher who finally gets his big break as a jazz performer. However, just as things seem to be going his way, Gardner finds himself completely removed from the world he knows and instead in The Great Before. As he strives to get back, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey). Together they discover a lot about what it means to live.
When it comes to quality, Pixar continues to be at the top of its game. Each movie seems to be more beautiful than the last. Each new movie adds new technology on top of the previous which leads to new beauty for each film. Soul continued to build on the wins of past Pixar movies and is absolutely beautiful to watch. This is true for the many different settings that are found in the film. There are many different styles and worlds shown throughout the film, each has its own beauty and style. Each also is accompanied by music that helps with world-building. In some ways, Soul relies on the partnership between the video and audio even more than other movies. Thankfully, there is no weak link and the culmination of this is a movie that is beautiful to experience.
There are quite a few extras included with Soul’s home entertainment release. This is important as anyone who already has Disney+ may not think they need to get this on Blu-Ray or Digital Download. I’m pleased to report that the bonus features included with Soul are really enjoyable and add even more depth to the movie. There were multiple interesting extras included with this release that talks about the lengths gone to create an accurate world that Joe Gardner lives in, the challenges of working from home when COVID hit, the importance of music, the design of the different characters, and of course the making of feature to name a few. This time around, my favorite extra was actually the audio commentary with director Pete Docter, co-director/writer Kemp Powers, and producer Dana Murray. I have so much more respect for this film after watching this and its impact is even greater when you hear so much of what was put into it. Here is a look at the extras included with Soul’s home entertainment release:
Disney and Pixar’s Soul Bonus Features*
- Deleted Scenes
- Introduction – Writer Mike Jones and story supervisor Kristen Lester introduce the “Soul” deleted scenes.
- Mentor Orientation – Joe sneaks into the You Seminar Mentor Program orientation, trying to figure out how on earth he can get back to … Earth.
- Clubhouse Forgery – Joe follows 22 into her “secret lair” as she reluctantly agrees to help him find his way back to Earth.
- Home Lessons – Stuck inside Joe’s body, 22 clumsily attempts to help the downstairs neighbor.
- Living the Dream – Joe has a heart-to-heart with 22 about her fear of living on Earth, then tries to make his way back home via a dream portal.
- Press Shot – Joe, stuck in a cat’s body, and 22, stuck in Joe’s body, take the subway to the jazz club for a publicity photography session.
- Audio Commentary – View the film with audio commentary by director Pete Docter, co-director/writer Kemp Powers and producer Dana Murray.
- Not Your Average Joe – See the thought and care that went into crafting Joe and his story in Pixar’s first film to feature a Black leading character.
- Astral Taffy – Get an in-depth look at the artistry and technical innovation that went into creating the sets and characters in the world of “Soul.”
- Pretty Deep for a Cartoon – The filmmakers tackle big questions, such as where does a newborn’s personality come from, what’s the meaning of life, and more!
- Into the Zone: The Music and Sound of Soul – Explore the movie’s different sonic worlds and discover how music drives and adds specificity to Joe’s journey.
- “Soul,” Improvised – See how the Pixar Systems team and “Soul”’s crew managed to finish the film on schedule during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Jazz Greats – Giants of the jazz world who consulted on “Soul” share their passion and hard-won wisdom about what music is and does for us all.
*Bonus features may vary by retailer and product.
All of these bonus features were enjoyable to watch and I watched them straight through. I will say, put aside a good chunk of time to work your way through them though if you are planning on doing that! Definitely check them all out though and then share in the comments what your favorites are!
Soul is a movie that I knew I was going to like but didn’t anticipate loving as much as I do. It is a movie that digs into a lot of deep questions without getting too heavy. It is beautifully made and has a stellar voice cast. It also has an incredible soundtrack that just adds to the heart and depth of the film and the questions it explores. For the home release, the added bonus features added quite a lot to the film. They also added to my enjoyment and love of the film. While Soul continues to be on Disney+, these bonus features really do add a lot and make it worth the purchase price and the ability to bring it home. This is definitely a worthwhile addition to your Disney and Pixar library! It definitely is worthy of a hat tip!
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