Quantcast

Soul (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

I don’t know what’s up with Pixar and Disney lately, but their films have been of the straight to Disney+ fashion in handling releases with the global pandemic. That started with Soul which debuted on the streaming platform at no extra charge like previous releases had done (Luca will go straight to Disney+ later this year). The film was originally supposed to be released last summer only to be bumped and then dumped (Sorry, I wanted a rhyme). It received plenty of worthy acclaim and was a nice gesture to have to watch for free on the Christmas holiday. Wonderfully, though, it has arrived on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, keeping physical media as a continued viable option. Soul was released on March 23rd, featuring plenty of solid extras as well as a native 4K image (Sometimes for some reason these get downres’d to a 2K digital intermediate). You can own it and see all the goodness by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom of this page.

Film

Joe (Jamie Foxx) is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz — and he’s good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul.

Soul is yet another Pixar movie that really speaks deeply, feeling like a spiritual sequel to Inside Out in many ways. What are our dreams? How healthy is it to follow them? When or why do we stop? Should we stop? Who and how do we affect those close to us with our drive and determination? The film explores a lot of this and really hits close to home and strongly feels like it gives the right direction in every path.

The film does so with such invested, fun performances that lull you into investment and really get you where it counts. Jamie Foxx puts forth one of his most vulnerable roles and opens up for your empathy throughout. His pairing with Tina Fey really carries the film with learning, good comedy and really neat friendship bond that goes beyond our reality.

Animation-wise, they’ve done some quite unique stuff here with a really elementary feeling style. What looks simplistic here is actually pretty complicated. The Soul World features some strangeness, but a wonderfully imaginative cohesiveness that makes you feel like playing around in it and exploring plenty. Hell, with its look, its ripe for some open platform gaming. Nonetheless, it contains vocals by Richard Ayoade and that alone just seals the deal.

Pixar’s movies always like to be super endearing and then just punch you in the gut in your reflection on all things life by the end. They tend to hit adults quite strongly. I have to wonder what its like being a child and taking these in. Growing up I only really had the first Toy Story to hit me at a young age and I was already 13. Its a wonder how these movies will impact and inspire younger generations with such thoughtful entries and messages that hopefully encourage a respect for your fellow human. Soul continues this legacy and is one of the very best in searching for deeper meaning and messages.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Soul debuts on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a natural transferred 4K image. This has a nice bump over the standard Blu-ray and is one of the most impressive looking animated titles on 4K UHD I’ve seen. The characters feel like little figures you could pick up or collect. Details are very strong and even better than you’d wager an animated film could have. Overall, I can’t imagine this film looking better until another format comes along.

Depth:  Being a full animated film, it easily lends itself to looking three dimensional with good spacing and well rounded-ness to its characters and objects. Movements are smooth, fluid and have no distortion issues from rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep, with a good a natural feel. Shading, outlining and texturing are at some very impressive levels here and no information finds itself hidden. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite lovely here and a bump up from the Blu-ray. A brighter image, it features good saturation and a nice glow from the Soul World. The natural colors are impressive as well with a good strong, rustic look.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

DynamicsSoul arrives with an Atmos track that is on the better end of Disney’s output. Your default volume should suffice decently as this one features strong dynamics with special effects sounds and music. It really has good traveling audio as well as nice ambient contributions. Paired with the video, Soul gives one of Disney’s more impressive performances on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format.

Height: There are some fun moments as well as good natural occurrences from overhead. Set to good volume and allowing itself to be noticeable and impressive but never distracting or overdone.

Low Frequency Extension: Deeper sounds get a nice sub assistance with doors slamming, crashing, supernatural sounds and more. Musical bumps from bass and drum also have a nice thud from the woofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The audio here has a blast traveling around and being playful with the speakers at times (Definitely in the Soul World). Travel rolls naturally and fully from channel to channel. Ambiance really fills out the space and the score rises to the occasion in impactful ways.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp. No matter the environment or the intensity of a situation, the character is always plenty audible while feeling engulfed in the environment.

Extras

Soul comes with the 2-Disc standard Blu-ray addition and a redeemable digital code for the film. All bonus materials are found on the standard Blu-ray discs.

Blu-ray Disc 1

Audio Commentary 

  • With Director Pete Docter, Producer Dana Murray, and Co-Writer/Co-Director Kemp Powers

Not Your Average Joe (HD, (9:45) – This featurette has cast and crew focusing on the lead character of the film. From creating Joe to Jamie Foxx’s performance to the importance of diversity in film, its all well covered here.

Astra Taffy (HD, 8:12) – This one is all the ins and outs of designing the Soul World with inspirations, ideas, concepts and more.

Blu-ray Disc 2

Pretty Deep For A Cartoon (HD, 6:29) – Talks about the heavier themes appearing in the movie as well as what Pete Docter brings to the table. It also kind of goes through how the story came together and the goal they wanted in the end.

Into The Zone: The Music And Sound Of Soul (HD, 8:24) – This one goes over the score for the film and points out unique ideas used for different characters and places visited in it.

Soul, Improvised (HD, 6:49) – A featurette focusing on the adapting, improvising and overcoming the handicaps laid bare due to the global pandemic in order to release the film.

Jazz Greats (HD, 2:50) – Many jazz legends talk about the music in the film and how they liked the film over all.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 22:17) – Includes an introduction.

Trailers

  • Soul: Born To Be: Global Teaser in English (HD, 1:41)
  • Soul: Chicken Soup: Global Trailer in Polish (HD, 2:21) 
  • Soul: Alive: International Trailer in Russian (HD, 2:11)

Summary

Soul is another terrific outing for Pixar, one that I think would probably pair very well with Inside Out as a double feature. A “Shut up! I’m not crying” hits you in the feels double feature. The image and audio here are pretty stunning and the array of extras are decently fulfilling. Disney has popped out a very quality 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release for Soul and those picking it up should be plenty satisfied with their purchase.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

Share

Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments