Steven’s Review: “Elemental” Burns Bright with Pixar’s Passion
“Elemental” is the latest film from Pixar, and their first original screenplay to see theatrical release in three years. As the studio’s first romantic comedy, director Peter Sohn (“The Good Dinosaur”) has crafted another film which is destined to be a beloved entry in their vast catalog of work.
Taking place in the massive metropolis Element City, the setting is populated by residents of the following elements: water, earth, fire and air. The story follows a young fire element named Ember (voiced of Leah Lewis) trying to live up to the example set by her parents (voices of Ronnie Del Carmen and Shila Ommi) and find her place in the metropolis known as Element City. One day, a building inspector arrives through a burst pipe: a water element named Wade (voice of Mamoudou Athie). Despite being told her entire life that “elements don’t mix,” Ember goes on a journey of discovering love and herself in order to find her true place in life.
Both Element City and its inhabitants are rife with visual creativity. Entire new animation technology was designed specifically for the film, with each element walking a fine line between the art styles of anime and Western animation. The color palette gives both the world and its inhabitants vibrant life. Ember and Wade alone show just how far rendering flames and fluids have come since the first “Toy Story.”
In addition to the story drawing from Peter Sohn’s own experiences in life, the plot was influenced by classic dramas such as “The Godfather” and romantic comedies such as “The Big Sick.” Thomas Newman provides a musical score that compliments the emotional beats of the story perfectly.
The film is also paired with the animated short “Carl’s Date,” featuring a posthumous appearance from Ed Asner (who passed away in 2021 at age 94) reprising his role from 2009’s “Up” and marking a touching goodbye to the actor.
Overall, “Elemental” is highly recommended. Burning bright with the passion of Pixar’s best work, it’s worth seeing on the biggest screen possible.
Directed by Peter Sohn
Starring the voices of Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie Del Carmen, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara, Mason Workheimer, Shila Ommi and Joe Pera
My Rating: *****/5