Elemental (2023)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Peter Sohn
Run Time
1 hour and 49 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★★4 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away,
for now the winter is past,
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.

Song of Songs 2:10-12
Ember & Wade’s adventures take place in the colorful Elemental City. (c) Pixar

Director Peter Sohn and his talented Pixar crew base this film on the ancient concept that there are four basic elements—earth, sky, fire and water. Although far short of Wall-E and such, Elemental is still enjoyable as a Romero & Juliett love story and an immigrants-make-good tale. The story is a bit complicated, as is the concept of characters built on the four ancient element—earth, sky, fire and water—so I wonder what preschool age children will get out of it.

In this tale Ember (voiced by Leah Lewis) is the ifrst generation child of the flame couple Útrí dár ì Bùrdì (Ronnie del Carmen) and Fâsh ì Síddèr (Shila Ommi) who have immigrated to Element City to start a new life. The immigration authorities, like those at our own Ellis Island, had simplified their hard to pronounce names to Bernie and Cinder Lumen. The nw comers run up against prejudice, with fire citizens being the last of the four types of people to take up residence in the city. They had started a convenience store in the section of town called Fire Town, which thrived, so that the father hopes Ember will take over when he retires soon. However, Ember has other ideas, especially when she meets Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie), the city inspector who comes to the shop because Ember’s fiery temper had broken a water pipe. Although Wade is a water element, the two are drawn to each other. But what kind of a future awaits them, with Ember in such danger of being extinguished if she touches water that she carris an umbrella as a shield? And there is her father, too, disapproving of water elements because of their hostility to his kind.

The plot is so complicated that I won’t try to describe it, xcept to say that the would-be lovers are faced with many obstacles, including the flooding of Elmental City, as well as the physical dangers of their touching one another. There are numerous other characters also, including the cute kid called Clod (Mason Wertheimer ) who has a crush on Ember—you can guess which element is he. The animation is often breath-takingly beautiful, especially the cityscapes, and the lovely musical score by Thomas Newman intriguingly inspired by Indian music.

There are plenty of moving moments, one involving bowing as a show of respect, along with those between the lovers, that adults will enjoy the film. Even though I might wonder about what younger children might get from the film, I noted that those attending the showing I attended showed no sign of unrest. There are plenty of action scenes to satisfy young and old, with the latter no doubt seeing the relevance of the struggle against prejudice of the immigrants and the necessity of following one’s own dreams.

This review will be in the July issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.

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