'Soul' Movie Review — Top Notch Character Design, Amazing Vocal Talent & Jokes for All Ages

Pixar Soul Movie Review

Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is the main character in Pixar's Soul, releasing today (December 25, 2020), and is easily one of the most focused, yet lost characters in Pixar's catalog. You may already know the basics about Joe — he's a middle-school band teacher who's obsession to "make it" as a jazz musician has caused him to throw everything else by the wayside. While the film's core is about living your life to the fullest by pursuing your passions, it's also about balance and how focusing too much on one thing can also be a burden.

This is how Joe finds himself teetering between the human world and the soul world, and the interplay between them is brilliant. First off, we love the world-building in this film. We start in a fantastically accurate feeling New York, but quickly find ourselves in the black-saturated mixture of "The Great Before," "The Great Beyond," and "Astral Planes," among other locations. Each world, each place, feels either familiar or so artistically unique, we couldn't help but be slightly awestruck.

Pixar Soul The Great Before Landscape

Moving between these worlds as a viewer could seem complicated as Joe moves between locations, but thanks to the mystic character, Moonwind (voiced by Graham Norton), he guides Joe (and, ultimately the viewer) through the lands perfectly.

So, those are our high-level thoughts, but let's talk about some specific areas that stood out to us.


I've always loved the character designs in Ratatouille — I love how unique the designs are, and how they were crafted with marionettes in mind (the original director, Jan Pinkava utilized puppets for early inspiration) — the kitchen staff at Gusteau's are specifically the characters I'm thinking of. So, why talk about my love of Ratatouille characters in a Soul review? Because I believe that the character designs are as good as Ratatouille.

Pixar Soul Barber Shop

For the human world, some of the characters that really stood out to us were Joe Gardner (not surprisingly), but also his Mother, Libba, and the full cast of characters in the Barber Shop. It's kind of like the kitchen at Gusteaus — a range of styles, a range of ages, a range of emotions built into them. Really, pay attention to the designs, they're stunning.

In addition to the human characters, the Counselors (all named Jerry) and the Accountant (Terry) are jaw-dropping in their 2-dimensional design. You have to see their characters to believe how they move on screen — they are unbelievable and although they could be viewed as simple, they are certainly not. Watch how they move through objects, bend, and twist — it's actually sort of beautiful to watch them move.


Of course, a great character design is one thing, but bringing that character to life through their voice is also another element that makes the design seem true-to-life. To that end, the vocal cast is not only one of Pixar's most international, but it's also another highlight in Pixar's long catalog of brilliant vocal castings. Standouts in our minds were Jamie Foxx (Joe Gardner), Libba Gardner (Phylicia Rashad), the Jerry's (Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, Fortune Feimster, and Zenobia Shroff), and Terry (Rachel House). 

Pixar Soul Jerry and Terry

The entire Jerry and Terry cast is unforgettable. That's not to say that the list stops there — there is no one that feels out of place in the film vocally.


The film will entertain kids and adults, as we've come to expect from Pixar films. There will be plenty of jokes which will go over the heads of younger viewers such as a reference to Drakkar Noir cologne (hilarious) or historical figures such as Copernicus but will have adults rolling because they'll get the undertones of the jokes. This isn't to say kids won't connect with Soul though — heck, in the first Toy Story, kids didn't necessarily get the joke Mr. Potato Head says to Hamm when he proclaims, "Hey look, I'm Picasso!"

I think younger kids will really connect with the soul characters (specifically during the "You Seminar") and any of the amazing comedic moments with 22, Joe Gardner, and Mr. Mittens — there are some really hilarious, well-written gags and comedy throughout. 

Pixar Soul 22 in the You Seminar

The film is officially rated PG, so most parents can feel safe showing the film to most children. I'm confident our six-year-old would really enjoy this film. There is one scene with some ominous-looking characters (lost souls) who have scary voices and tentacle-like arms which chase the main characters. The scene is ultimately short-lived (less than a minute) and quickly follows with a humorous moment and calming resolution which helps the lost souls shed their scary exterior. This would potentially only affect the youngest viewers on average and you'll have to gauge your child's individual comfort level.


I could go on and on about the music from this film — it's essential to the plot and delivers on every level. We wrote a separate post about the soundtrack for Soul and how the jazz world (composed by Jon Batiste) and the soul world (composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) contrast perfectly. I cannot say enough good things about the score and hope it's a contender during awards season — that's how artistic and creative I believe it is. It's uplifting, dark, sweet, poignant, and so much more.

Jon Batiste Pixar Soul
Jon Batiste and Pete Docter (Dir.)


We want to hear your thoughts on Soul as well! We'll be sharing a more in-depth review of Soul during a live stream event in the coming week, so stay tuned for that announcement. We'll discuss more spoilers, Easter Eggs, and specifics from the film during the event, so leave a comment below or chat about the film with other Pixar fans in the Pixar Post Forum.

Related Posts:

Pixar Post - T.J.



22,7,22 Against Earth,1,22 vs Earth,3,4K Ultra HD,9,A Bug's Life,6,A113,4,Aaron Hartline,4,Adam Burke,1,Adrian Molina,27,Alan Barillaro,12,Albert Lozano,1,Alex Mandel,1,Alex Marino,1,Allison Rutland,1,Alonso Martinez,1,Ana Lacaze,1,Andrea Warren,9,Andrew Gordon,3,Andrew Jimenez,1,Andrew Stanton,55,Angelique Reisch,4,Angus MacLane,34,Animation Podcast,7,Annie Awards,1,Aphton Corbin,4,App Review,7,Apple Watch,1,Armie Hammer,2,Art,37,Art of Animation Resort,5,Artists Help Japan,6,Austin Madison,4,Automaton,1,Awards,103,Axel Geddes,1,Bao,12,Barney Jones,1,Beth Sullivan,1,Bill Hader,1,Bill Watral,1,BIlly Crystal,4,Bing Bong,2,Blu-Ray,58,Bo Peep,21,Bob Pauley,1,Bob Peterson,25,Bob Whitehill,2,Bobby Podesta,5,Bobby Rubio,4,Bobs Gannaway,2,Book,9,Book Review,54,Boundin,1,Box Office,4,Brad Bird,57,Brave,144,Breaking,6,BREAKING News,59,Brian Fee,26,Brian Larsen,4,Bryn Imagire,2,Bud Luckey,1,Burrow,1,Buzz Lightyear,32,Buzz Lightyear of Star Command,1,Car Toons,2,Carrie Hobson,1,Cars,77,Cars 2,19,Cars 3,94,Cars Land,37,Cars Toons,12,Chris Chua,1,Chris Sasaki,1,Christina Faraj,1,Christine Freeman,1,Clip,4,Coco,106,Contest,11,Craig Foster,2,Cristela Alonzo,2,Cruz Ramirez,13,Custom Pixar Gear,6,Cynthia Slavens,1,D23,36,D23 Expo,10,Dan Scanlon,111,Dana Murray,12,Daniel Arriaga,4,Daniela Strijleva,1,Danielle Feinberg,6,Darla Anderson,27,Dave Mullins,14,David Lally,10,David Munier,2,Dean Kelly,4,Deanna Marsigliese,1,Deleted Scene,6,Denise Ream,5,Detroit Auto Show,1,Dia de los Muertos,7,Dice Tsutsumi,8,Die Cast Cars,23,Digital,2,Director's Commentary,9,Dirk Van Gelder,1,Disney California Adventure,43,Disney Cruise,3,Disney Infinity,43,Disney Infinity 2.0,6,Disney Infinity 3.0,15,Disney Infinity Next,1,Disney Interactive,1,Disney Movie Club,1,Disney Movies Anywhere,4,Disney on Ice,1,Disney World,68,Disney+,37,Disneyland,32,Disneyland Paris,8,DisneyPlus,26,Domee Shi,17,Dominique Louis,1,Ducky and Bunny,4,Dug Days,4,Duke Caboom,5,Dylan Sisson,1,Easter Eggs,44,Ed Catmull,28,Edna Mode,1,Edwin Chang,4,Emilie Goulet,1,Emron Grover,1,Enrico Casarosa,30,Erica Milsom,6,Erik Langley,1,Erik Smitt,1,Everett Downing,1,Exclusive,24,Fan Art,34,Farhez Rayani,2,Finding Dory,101,Finding Nemo,24,Float,4,Forky,20,Forky Asks A Question,7,Forum,3,Fran Kalal,1,Fun Facts,8,Gabby Gabby,1,Galyn Susman,7,Garrett Taylor,1,Giggle McDimples,2,Giveaway,5,Google Hangout,5,Hawaiian Vacation,2,Hidden Items,4,Imagineering,3,Incredibles 2,106,Inside Out,153,Inside Pixar,2,Interview,43,Jack-Jack,1,Jackson Storm,10,Jake Monaco,4,James Ford Murphy,13,Jamie Roe,1,Jason Deamer,1,Jason Johnston,3,Jay Shuster,3,Jay Ward,10,Jeff Danna,4,Jeff Pidgeon,1,Jeremie Talbot,1,Jerome Ranft,1,Jessica Heidt,1,Jessie,3,Jesus Martinez,2,Jim Capobianco,4,Jim Morris,7,Joe Ranft,2,John Goodman,2,John Lasseter,69,John Ratzenberger,3,John Walker,4,Jon Reisch,3,Jonas Rivera,31,Jonathan Pytko,2,Josh Cooley,52,Jude Brownbill,3,Juliet Roth,1,Katherine Sarafian,1,Katy Wu,1,Kelly Bonbright,1,Kelsey Mann,14,Kemp Powers,13,Kerry Washington,2,Kevin Nolting,2,Kevin O'Hara,1,Kevin Reher,3,Kitbull,6,Knick Knack,2,Kori Rae,25,Krissy Cababa,3,Kristen Lester,8,Kyzysztof Rost,1,La Luna,18,Lamp Life,7,Laura Meyer,2,Lava,21,Lee Unkrich,77,Lighting McQueen,39,Lightning McQueen,1,Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy,2,Lightyear,2,Lindsey Collins,9,Ling Tu,1,Loop,6,Lou,17,Lou Hamou-Lhadi,1,Louis Gonzales,2,Louise Smythe,1,Luca,22,Luxo Jr.,5,Madeline Sharafian,1,Mahyar Abousaeedi,1,Manticore,1,Marc Greenberg,1,Marc Sondheimer,5,Mark Andrews,39,Mark Nielsen,8,Mark Orton,1,Mark Walsh,35,Matt Jones,3,Matt Nolte,1,Matthew Luhn,2,Merida,15,Michael B. Johnson,2,Michael Blackmon,1,Michael Comet,2,Michael Fong,3,Michael Frederickson,1,Michael Giacchino,27,Michael Warch,1,Michael Yates,2,Michal Makarewicz,6,Mike Venturini,1,Mike Wazowski,3,Mike Wu,1,Miss Fritter,1,Monsters At Work,14,Monsters Inc,50,Monsters University,177,MontaQue Ruffin,1,MotoExpo,1,Motorama,3,Movie,1,Movie Review,21,Municiberg,1,Mychael Danna,6,Natalie Certain,3,Nathan Farris,2,Nathan Fillion,2,Newt,1,Nick Pitera,1,Nicole Paradis Grindle,4,Nona,2,Onward,50,OUT!,5,Owen Wilson,2,Party Central,12,Partysaurus Rex,50,Patrick Lin,2,Paul Abadilla,8,Pete Docter,132,Peter Sohn,33,Philip Metschan,2,Piper,16,Pixar Animation Studios,187,Pixar Archives,2,Pixar Artist Showcase,2,Pixar Canada,14,Pixar Concept Art,34,Pixar Fest,7,Pixar In A Box,2,Pixar in Concert,1,Pixar In Real Life,3,Pixar Internships,2,Pixar Minute,4,Pixar Pier,9,Pixar Pipeline Project,8,Pixar Place,1,Pixar Popcorn,3,Pixar Post Book Club,12,Pixar Post Record,1,Pixar Putt,2,Pixar Shorts,145,Pixar Studio Story,2,Pixar Toys,68,Pizza Planet Truck,3,Podcast,74,Poster,12,Presto,4,Products,284,Products - A Bug's Life,10,Products - Brave,29,Products - Cars,39,Products - Cars 2,10,Products - Cars 3,21,Products - Coco,13,Products - Finding Dory,10,Products - Finding Nemo,11,Products - Incredibles 2,21,Products - Inside Out,17,Products - Luca,1,Products - Luxo Ball,1,Products - Monsters Inc,20,Products - Monsters University,24,Products - Onward,6,Products - Ratatouille,10,Products - Shorts & TV Specials,58,Products - Soul,6,Products - The Good Dinosaur,7,Products - The Incredibles,13,Products - Toy Story,44,Products - Toy Story 2,9,Products - Toy Story 3,5,Products - Toy Story 4,19,Products - Up,10,Products - WALL-E,10,Purl,7,Radiator Springs,7,Ralph Eggleston,11,Randy Newman,6,Ratatouille,23,RenderMan,4,Renee Tam,1,Review,36,Rib Tickles,1,Ricky Nierva,4,Riley's First Date,6,Rob Thompson,1,Robert Kondo,5,Ronnie Del Carmen,6,Rosana Sullivan,7,Rosie Cole,1,Sandra Karpman,1,Sanjay Patel,13,Sanjay's Super Team,18,Saschka Unseld,30,Scott Morse,1,Sequoia Blankenship,1,Shanghai Disney,2,Sharon Calahan,5,Shawn Krause,1,shopDisney,3,Shufflerz,1,SIGGRAPH,4,Small Fry,3,Smash and Grab,3,Soul,37,Soundtrack,53,SparkShorts,29,Stephany Folsom,1,Stephen Karski,1,Sterling,2,Steve Jobs,6,Steve Pilcher,1,Steve Purcell,18,Steven Clay Hunter,4,Store - Amazon,70,Store - App Store,12,Store - Barnes and Noble,4,Store - Best Buy,4,Store - Disney Store,44,Store - eBay,8,Store - Hallmark,1,Store - iTunes,45,Store - Target,15,Store - Toys R Us,4,Sulley,2,Tales From Radiator Springs,5,Teaser,4,Ted Mathot,1,Teddy Newton,2,Television Specials,3,The Blue Umbrella,40,The Good Dinosaur,93,The Incredibles,42,The Incredibles 2,35,Thomas Jordan,1,Thomas Newman,3,Tia Kratter,1,Tim Allen,4,Tin Toy,1,Tinny,1,To Protect and Serve,4,Toby Chu,1,Tokyo Disney,1,Tony DeRose,1,Tony Fucile,3,Tony Hale,3,Toy Hunt,1,Toy Review,33,Toy Story,152,Toy Story 2,2,Toy Story 3,5,Toy Story 4,114,Toy Story Land,15,Toy Story of Terror,37,Toy Story That Time Forgot,25,Trailer,151,Turning Red,6,Twenty Something,3,Tylor Tuskmon,4,Type - Books,28,Type - Clothing,9,Type - Collectibles,26,Type - Holiday,2,Type - Pins,1,Type - Plush,14,Type - Toys,41,UP,22,Valerie LaPointe,3,VanArts,5,Victor Navone,1,Video Games,51,Vinylmation,9,Wall-e,23,Win or Lose,2,Wind,4,Woody,23,YouTube Live,9,
Pixar Post: 'Soul' Movie Review — Top Notch Character Design, Amazing Vocal Talent & Jokes for All Ages
'Soul' Movie Review — Top Notch Character Design, Amazing Vocal Talent & Jokes for All Ages
Soul is officially out on Disney+, read our thoughts on the vocal talent, character designs, and how kids and adults will view the movie.
Pixar Post
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content