Pixar Is Bringing 'Soul', 'Turning Red' and 'Luca' to Cinemas Down Under for the First Time

The Pixar Film Fest is playing the animation studio's movies that went straight to the small screen during the pandemic.
Sarah Ward
Published on February 16, 2024
Updated on February 16, 2024

Lightyear wasn't the best Pixar movie, but when it flickered across the big screen halfway through 2022, it did something that the Disney-owned animation studio's films hadn't for a couple of years. Due to the pandemic's early days, the Mouse House skipped cinema releases for SoulLuca and Turning Red between late 2020 and early 2022. It was the time of lockdowns, restrictions, and picture palaces either temporarily closing or having capacity limits, so all three features went straight to streaming platform Disney+.

Wish you'd gotten a silver-screen experience while viewing this trio — or any one of them? Enter the new Pixar Film Fest to give you that chance. From Thursday, February 22–Wednesday, March 13, for a week apiece at various locations around Australia and New Zealand, it's debuting SoulLuca and Turning Red in cinemas for the first time Down Under.

Soul sports a premise that resembles Inside Out, which has a sequel arriving on the big screen in 2024. Instead of emotions having emotions, souls do. Rather than Amy Poehler (Moxie) doing voice work, Tina Fey (Mean Girls) does. And director Peter Docter (Up) helmed them both. But Soul is definitely its own feature — and takes quite the existential trip as it follows aspiring jazz musician-turned-music teacher Joe (Jamie Foxx, The Burial) after an accident where his soul leaves his body.

The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Killer), plus Jon Batiste (The First Wave), won an Oscar. The movie nabbed the Best Animated Feature accolade as well. It's releasing in cinemas from Thursday, February 22–Wednesday, February 28.

Next up is Turning Red, which'll get projectors whirring from Thursday, February 29–Wednesday, March 6. The setup: what'd happen if the Hulk was a teenage girl, but became a super-cute red panda? Or, finding a different riff on the ol' werewolf situation, what if emotions rather than full moons inspired a case of not-quite-lycanthropy?

Writer/director Domee Shi puts these queries at the centre of Turning Red, her debut feature after winning an Oscar for gorgeous 2018 short Bao. Set in 2002, the film focuses on 13-year-old Chinese Canadian high-schooler Meilin Lee (Rosalie Chiang, American Born Chinese), who has strict but caring mum Ming (Sandra Oh, Quiz Lady), loves boy band 4*Town and soon discovers that she's also a red panda in a puberty metaphor.

Rounding out the lineup is Luca, which is similarly about transformation. This one takes place in Italy over a gorgeous summer, also spins a coming-of-age tale and nods to Frankenstein as well. Here, teenage sea monsters Luca (Jacob Tremblay, Orion and the Dark) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer, Shazam! Fury of the Gods) just want to fit in, but know that the village they decide to call home wouldn't accept them if they don't take on human form.

When they befriend ordinary girl Giulia (Emma Berman, Superkitties) in a quest to win a race to nab a moped, their secret becomes harder to keep — as cinemagoers can see from Thursday, March 7–Wednesday, March 13.

Check out the trailers for SoulLuca and Turning Red below:

Pixar Film Fest 2024 Lineup:

Thursday, February 22–Wednesday, February 28 — Soul
Thursday, February 29–Wednesday, March 6 — Turning Red
Thursday, March 7–Wednesday, March 13 — Luca

Disney's Pixar Film Fest runs from Thursday, February 22–Wednesday, March 13 at cinemas around Australia and New Zealand, including in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland and Wellington — check out your local picture palace for details.

Read our reviews of SoulLuca and Turning Red.

Published on February 16, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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