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Review: ‘Elemental’ is Bright, Bold, & One of Pixar’s Best

Pixar’s “Elemental” arrives on the big screen in less than a week, an original comedy built on the premise that no two people are too different to fall in love—not even if they happen to literally be fire and water.

Unconventional leads Ember and Wade, wonderfully voiced by Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie, embody the many differences that can break or make a romantic relationship. 

Drawing on director Peter Sohn’s own experience as the child of Korean immigrants and marrying a non-Korean wife, the film’s imaginative lens goes far beyond a simple ‘elements don’t mix’ storyline.

There are a lot of ideas in the film, some of which will fly over kids’ heads, but this complexity is generally an asset rather than hindrance for the adults watching.

The result is a movie that immigrants, second generation folks, and couples will connect with and thoroughly enjoy.

Spontaneous audience reaction is a truer indicator of a film’s quality than any assessment afterwards. On this point, the screening my wife and I attended was punctuated by the right emotions—uproarious laughter, knowing chortles, pin-drop silence—at the right moments.

As absorbing as the story of “Elemental” is, so are the visuals, with character and set design bolder and brighter than anything Pixar has done before.

(After Sohn’s hyping of the stereoscopic 3D as Pixar’s most adventurous yet, though, Disney inexplicably screened the movie in 2D.)

Though not perfect—among other things, there are a couple of instances of poorly-paced dialogue—I would count “Elemental” among Pixar’s best.

It’s a far more remarkable and relatable movie than Sohn’s 2013 feature debut “The Good Dinosaur”, and more fun than last summer’s “Lightyear”.

“Elemental” is preceded by “Carl’s Date”, a new short starring Carl Fredricksen and Dug from “Up”.

About Pixar’s Elemental

“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, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in. Directed by Peter Sohn, produced by Denise Ream, p.g.a., and executive produced by Pete Docter, “Elemental” features a screenplay by John Hoberg & Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh with story by Sohn, Hoberg & Likkel and Hsueh. The film’s original score was composed and conducted by Thomas Newman. 

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  1. Pingback: Pixar's 'Elemental' Debuts in Second at Weak Holiday Box Office | The Disney Blog

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