Soul appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a terrific presentation.
At all times, sharpness looked immaculate – within visual choices, that is. Much of Soul opted for an intentionally soft appearance to depict the airiness of the You Pavilion, so I couldn’t fault the transfer for that. Overall accuracy seemed splendid, and the image felt tight when it needed to be.
No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes/artifacts were absent. Of course, no source flaws cropped up either, as the movie stayed clean and fresh.
With all the varied settings on display, we found a nice array of colors, all of which excelled. Though the movie could lean blue, we still got a wide palette that offered fine vivacity, as we got a lively set of hues.
Blacks came across as dark and deep, while low-light shots seemed smooth and clear. Nothing problematic ever graced the screen in this top-notch presentation.
While not quite as impressive, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Soul still worked well. The soundfield lacked a lot of opportunities to really dazzle, but it presented an unusually smooth soundscape.
The mix featured a lot of gentle ambience, and those elements blended together well. They also provided excellent localization and movement.
The surrounds usually focused on those atmospheric elements, but a few scenes added life. This wasn’t the most active mix, but it still did what it needed to do.
Audio quality was always positive. Speech was natural and distinctive, without edginess or concerns.
Music seemed lively and full, while effects were clear and concise. Low-end demonstrated good punch when necessary. Again, the soundtrack didn’t provide a consistently engulfing affair, but it was a solid mix anyway.
We get a mix of extras on this two-disc set, and on Blu-ray One, we open with an audio commentary from director Pete Docter, producer Dana Murray, and co-writer/co-director Kemp Powers. (Co-writer Mike Jones also pops up briefly near the end of the film.) All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, music, animation and art, influences, cast and performances, pandemic-related challenges and connected domains.
Pixar commentaries usually work very well, and this one follows that trend. It gives us an excellent look at the decisions made for the film and offers a vivid, engaging discussion of the production.
Two featurettes follow, and Not Your Average Joe runs nine minutes, 45 seconds and offers info from Powers, Murray, Docter, Jones, Inclusion and Outreach VP, Britta Wilson, executive producer Kiri Hart, story supervisor Kristen Lester, additional story supervision/story lead Trevor Jimenez, story artist Aphton Corbin, character modeling lead Mara MacMahon, jazz composer Jon Batiste, and actor Jamie Foxx.
“Average” looks at aspects of the Joe character and its influences and development. It becomes a tight little overview with many good insights.
Astral Taffy goes for eight minutes, 12 seconds and involves Docter, Murray, Corbin, Hart, Jimenez, director of photography – lighting Ian Megibben, development artists Dave Strick and Michael Fredericksen, production designer Steve Pilcher, sets art director Paul Abadilla, shading art director Bryn Imagire and artist Deanna Marsigliese.
Via “Taffy”, we examine the creation of the soul world. Expect another useful and engaging show.
Blu-ray One concludes with a preview for Luca.
On Blu-ray Two, Pretty Deep For a Cartoon fills six minutes, 29 seconds with info from Murray, Docter, MacMahon, Hart, Lester, Jones, Powers, Foxx, second film editor Robert Grahamjones, and actor Tina Fey.
“Deep” looks at additional character/story/thematic areas. It gives us a few more good details, though it seems a little more superficial than its predecessors.
Into the Zone lasts eight minutes, 24 seconds and involves Docter, Batiste, Powers, Grahamjones,
sound designer Ren Klyce, film editor Kevin Nolting, and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross,
This program discusses sound design and music. We locate a good view of these topics.
Next comes Soul, Improvised, a six-minute, 49-second piece with comments from Murray, Docter, Powers, Batiste, lighting artist Jessica Harvill, visual effects supervisor Michael Fong, systems directors Tyler Fazakerley and Joseph Frost, and associate producer Michael Warch.
“Improvised” looks at the challenges related to the need to complete the film during the COVID pandemic. That unusual issue makes this a compelling featurette.
Jazz Greats occupies two minutes, 50 seconds with remarks from Batiste, cultural and music consultants Terri Lynn Carrington, Earl McIntyre, Marcus McLaurine, Dr. Peter Archer, Aaron Diehl and Camille Prescott-Archer.
“Greats” talks about the movie’s attempts at musical authenticity. It feels self-congratulatory and not especially informative.
Five Deleted Scenes take up a total of 22 minutes, 17 seconds. That total includes introductions from Lester and Jones.
The various scenes offer a bit more exposition as well as some added character moments, one that includes a deleted role. These become interesting alternate segments.
Blu-ray Two ends with three trailers. We get a “global teaser” in English, a “global teaser” in Polish, and an “international trailer” in Russian.
Though it reflects other movies in its genre, Soul finds its own way more than enough to turn into a unique experience. Warm, witty and moving, the film scores on all levels. The Blu-ray brings excellent picture along with solid audio and a fairly informative set of supplements. This turns into another winner from Pixar.