Pixar is back with another visually vibrant story. Disney and Pixar have a track record for excellent animation and storytelling in the Pixar lineup of films. Everyone has multiple layers: one appealing to a broader audience of all ages, and the other from the directors who tell a personal story through the film and connect with the audience who has experiences similar to their own. Elemental is no different. First, lets take a look at the trailer and then dive into our review.
In a city where fire, water, land, and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common.
The heart of this story is that of an immigrant family who comes to a city that doesn’t accept them and they are alone. The story follows a family of fire folk who left their homelands for a better life. This story clearly has deep personal meaning to the director based on the end “in memory” section at the end of the film. And to many, the immigrant story hits close to home.
Fire and Water tend not to mix, but when a young city inspector (Wade) makes an unexpected visit to the store run by Ember’s father and their family, Ember, and Wade go on an adventure to solve a mystery that could cause serious problems for the people of fire town living in that part of the city. And when you look at our leads’ names, of course, you can think of 50 puns right off the bat, and the writers knew it too. The film is very self-aware of that and has fun with all of it, and the audience gets a nice chuckle out of it as well.
While the overall structure of the story seems formulaic, it still comes across as fresh and new with the vibrant world in Elemental and all of the unique characters whose personality and appearance mimics their elements in funny ways. Ultimately this ranks among the best Pixar has to offer, but because they have set such a high bar with their past films, it doesn’t quite rise to the top of the list. Still, for families of all ages, and adults this film is a welcome fun animated feature to go see in theatres that has a lot of heart and a lot of steam (get it, fire and water mixing makes steam? I know I know, but it was right there).
Elemental is in theatres June 16th. Oh and a fun side note, the Pixar short “Carls Date” will air with the film, so be prepared with tissues.