Pixar’s upcoming Soul has been screened by critics at the BFI London Film Festival, and the reviews are flooding in. Many are describing the film as one of Pixar’s finest and most ambitious works to date. This checks out, considering Soul is helmed by Pete Docter, known for directing Monsters, Inc.Up, and Inside Out. Overall, the reviews are very positive. However, a few critics noted that the movie does have its flaws, notably a lower level of emotional stakes than Docter’s previous works.

The Hollywood Reporter was a huge fan of Soul, writing: “This densely packed, exquisitely executed and just a teensy bit batshit film is peak Pixar. It's a vintage mix of the company’s intricate storytelling, complex emotional intelligence, technical prowess and cerebral whimsy on dexamethasone.”

Empire’s review wasn’t as rosy, although they appreciated the film's ability to mix “slapstick and sentimentality with big ideas.” The review expresses a desire for bigger emotional moments. “It’s a gorgeous 100 minutes, but not a huge emotional journey,” writes Alex Godfrey in his three-star review. “The stakes seem strangely low, all things considered, without the big weepy gut punches you might hope for, certainly of the potency that Docter’s unleashed in Up and Inside Out.

Despite its minor shortcomings, Deadline praised Docter for taking the kind of big swings the studio used to take in the past. “If Soul’s lofty ambitions don’t fully hit the mark, the fact that one of animation’s preeminent mainstream houses can shoot for these kinds of stars at all is cause for celebration,” the review states. “It’s a concrete return to the Pixar of old, full of grand ideas and original execution, and a statement of intent for Docter’s steering of the Pixar ship away from endless sequels and back to inventive originals.”

On Twitter, the response to Soul is resoundingly upbeat. Audience members lauded the film's gorgeous animation and surprisingly sweet heart:

In another life, Soul would be making the rounds in theaters after a debut at Cannes Film Festival. But coronavirus dashed those plans, causing Disney to announce that the film would be heading straight to Disney+. There will be no added premium charge for Disney+ users.

Soul arrives on Disney+ on Christmas Day.

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