Film Review: Disney Pixar’s Elemental – A heart-warming journey of love, identity, and Elemental harmony
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- Published on Sunday, 18 June 2023 18:00
- Last Updated on 18 June 2023
- Monica Costa
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London Mums had the privilege of attending a gala family screening event of Disney Pixar’s Elemental movie in London. Alongside stars and filmmakers, our reporters joined the celebration of the UK release of this highly anticipated film. Special guests included members of the voice cast—Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Shila Ommi—and filmmakers Peter Sohn (director), Denise Ream (producer), and Brenda Hsueh (screenwriter). In 2015, I interviewed Peter Sohn and Denise Ream when they released The Good Dinosaur. Peter made a great impression on me as a very passionate person for his movies. Take a look at my interview here.
TikTok sensation and train enthusiast Francis Bourgeois, who has a voice cameo in the film, was also in attendance. After the screening, we even took a selfie together. He told me that he was very happy to be part of this ‘adventurous journey,’ although he only voiced a minor character, the water train man.
In this review, I will delve into the magical world of Elemental, capturing the impressions shared by both London Mums and our child reporter Alec (14). Elemental will land in UK cinemas on 7th July 2023.
Elemental is an all-new, original feature film set in Element City, where Fire, Water, Earth, and Air residents live together. The story introduces Ember (voice of Leah Lewis), a fiery young woman whose friendship with a fun and sappy guy named Wade (voice of Mamoudou Athie) challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.
An original fusion: Zootropolis meets Inside Out
Elemental intertwines elements of two beloved Disney Pixar films, Zootropolis and Inside Out, resulting in a captivating and unique cinematic experience. The combination of anthropomorphic characters living in a city and the exploration of complex emotions sets the stage for a heartwarming and wholesome coming-of-age story. However, it is important to note that there is a line at the end of the film (“hanky panky”) that is inappropriate and may require parental guidance for very young viewers.
Elemental characters and their Elemental significance
The film introduces us to the residents of Element City, each representing a specific element: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. These elemental characters embody distinctive traits and characteristics that mirror their respective elements. Fire is portrayed with a positive attitude, high energy, and enthusiasm, while Water embodies emotions and intuition. Earth represents practicality, stability, and hard work, and Air signifies joy, playfulness, and a unifying force.
Layers of meaning and relatability
One of the strengths of Elemental lies in its ability to be interpreted on multiple levels and layers. Each elemental character represents a different culture or mindset, allowing viewers to draw parallels to our diverse world. The water character can be seen as an embodiment of the American dream, where possibilities are limitless. Fire symbolizes ancient Indian traditions, Earth represents European bureaucracy, and Air serves as a unifying force that connects all elements. The elements can also represent the zodiac signs’ characteristics (as additional interpretation level). This intricate layering adds depth to the narrative and offers a thought-provoking experience for both children and adults. You can read this movie as you want, really. This particularity makes the movie special.
The verdict: Fire!
Elemental ignites the screen with its enchanting storytelling, lovable characters, and thought-provoking themes. The film delivers a powerful message of finding common ground amidst differences, promoting harmony and unity. The combination of adorable characters and hilarious puns, such as the ‘Treeyota’ for Toyota or ‘Tide and Prejudice’ as a theater show, adds a playful and entertaining element. Furthermore, the visual and animation quality of the film is exceptional, with attention to detail that impresses, such as the bubbling effect when fire and water interact.
A captivating romance and self-realisation
The leads, Ember and Wade, voiced by Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie, respectively, create captivating on-screen chemistry that drives the narrative forward. Their journey goes beyond a typical romantic tale, focusing on their personal growth and self-realization. Ember’s character development, as she challenges her preconceived notions about the world she lives in, is particularly relatable and inspiring. The film beautifully captures their journey of self-discovery and offers a refreshing take on love and relationships.
Stunning animation and magical world-building
Elemental showcases stunning animation that is fluid, expressive, and diverse. The attention to detail in creating Element City immerses the audience in a visually captivating world. Pixar’s animation team demonstrates their expertise and ability to push creative boundaries, resulting in a delightfully imaginative experience. The film’s score, composed by Thomas Newman, complements the visuals, adding depth and emotion to the storytelling.
Carl’s Date Short
Traditionally, every new feature film by Pixar is introduced by a short film. Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® Award winner Bob Peterson and produced by Kim Collins, Carl’s Date is an all-new cute short that portrays themes unsuitable for a very young audience – the issues of an old guy (a grandparent’s figure) who wants to go dating again. The protagonist Carl lives with his loyal dog, who speaks through a device that translates his barks into words. Carl reluctantly agrees to go on a date with a lady friend—but admittedly has no idea how dating works these days (after being a widower for quite some time). Ever the helpful friend, Dug steps in to calm Carl’s pre-date jitters and offer some tried-and-true tips for making friends—if you’re a dog. Carl’s Date opens in cinemas in front of Disney and Pixar’s Elemental on 7th July 2023.
London Mums’ rating: 8/10
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums