Soul 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 255, May/June 2021

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Pete Docter & Kemp Powers
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "Soul," Joe (Foxx), a musician who has lost his passion for music, lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep transports Joe to a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with Soul 22 (Fey), an infant soul learning about herself, and together they find the answers to some of life's biggest questions. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary, the featurettes "Not Your Average Joe" (HD 09:45) and "Astral Taffy" (HD 08:12), upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital code.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was digitally animated and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. The animated picture is fantastic and exhibits imaginative imagery. The lines defining characters and the cat's whiskers are perfectly crisp. Color fidelity is excellent with solid saturation during scenes on earth and pastel shadings of blue and purple in the Great Before. Joe's suit his mother made for him is a vivid blue. Other real-world colors deliver a natural intensity and nuance. The textural quality is unbelievably real with nuanced hue shadings. This is particularly exhibited in Gardner's band classroom's details such as the blackboard and walls. Cityscapes are incredibly dimensional and complex with super-sharp resolution. The rendering of facial tones is wonderful. HDR contrast is wonderful with beautifully illuminated scenes and brilliant whites, dark shadows, and deep, solid blacks. This is an amazingly gorgeous animated visual experience that is reference quality. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/DolbyTrueHD 7.1-channel features a superbly recorded jazz and synthesizer score that delivers an emotional vibrancy throughout the soundtrack The wonderful piano solos were performed by Jon Batiste. The music envelops the soundfield. Atmospherics are superb, especially city din in several scenes, which is impressive for depth, realism, and directionality. There are sonically intensive moments with excellent bass extension. Inner nuanced sounds are clearly discerned, even during complex sonic moments. The sound often moves with the scenes. Dialogue is intelligible throughout with a good sense of spatial integration.

The Immersive Sound element is comprised of some dreamy piano playing, dreamy choral segments, voices, synthesizer segments, applause, crowd sighs, wind and brief minor atmospherics. Unfortunately, so much is lacking that could have been.

This holosonic® ear-level soundtrack is reference quality throughout with superb fidelity and dimensionality. Note that the Blu-ray edition defaults to DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1 channels rather than the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel version. (Gary Reber)