review by Bobby Blakey
When Disney and Pixar team up it is usually a guarantee that it will deliver. Since the pandemic hit the film releases have bounced between streaming only and theatrical, but looks to be officially back to mostly theatrical now. Their latest film Elemental is from The Good Dinosaur director Peter Sohn and features the voices of Mamoudou Athie and Leah Lewis, but could it offer more of what fans have come to love from Pixar or will it be too hot and cold to mix well?
Elemental follows an unlikely pair, Ember and Wade, in a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. The fiery young woman and the go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common.
I went in to this with low expectations mostly due to the underwhelming trailers of the story itself. It looked creative and fun, but was worried that it was going to be a story that was too generic and something we had seen a thousand times over. While it is familiar territory in its ideas its creative nature, visuals and excellent take on numerous subjects make it another stand out fun flick.
There are some pacing issues here and there where it felt like it was dragging at times, but overall still delivered. It didn’t feel like it was pulling at the heartstrings quite as much as you usually expect from Pixar, but they still get a couple of these moments in there most notably one in the final scene that was the perfect ending. The story is familiar, but does a greast job tackling so many issues we all deal with like culture status, prejudice, love, loyalty, and so much more. The use of the
different elements make it obvious to the situations you are dealing with while not feeling like they are trying to cram any agenda down your throat.
Where this film truly shines is in the animation and creativity of it all. The visuals are perfection filled with bright vibrant colors and fun details that is a treat to the senses. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the character designs and some of the style choices from the trailer, but seeing them in full world building and execution I loved it. The little nuances of how they use fire, water, wood and everything else makes this unique society work so great. Every time they create these kinds of things they knock it out of the park and it always comes down to the little details that really capture the magic.
I enjoyed this film a lot more than I expected to, but it might not hit for everyone. There is no denying there are a lot of great messages here that kids and adults alike could learn, but go in and just have a good time with the fun of it all.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes and the short film “Carl’s Date”. Step into the world of the elements with Elemental available now on digital and then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on September 26th from Disney and Pixar.