Elemental approaches the thorny topic of immigration with optimism and cheer. That’s not a bad way to go.
Ember is the hot-headed daughter of a Fireland immigrant. She also has a dilemma on her hands. Since young, she has prepared herself to inherit her father’s shop—to her, it is her duty to do so. After a watery mishap in her basement, though, she falls in love with sappy water element Wade Ripple, thus igniting a relationship that is seemingly impossible in every way. Would Ember choose love over family? And if she does so, would Wade and her end up destroying each other?
Like my recent write-up for Transformers: Rise of the Beast, I’ll keep this review short as the movie was released over a fortnight ago.
Short as lots of movie bloggers have already presented their views. What I have to say … isn’t in-sync with most professional opinions too. I don’t want to present a long argumentative rant. 🙂
My take after watching Elemental: This is easily one of the best Pixar movies I’ve watched in recent years. Easily one of the most beautiful 2023 movies too. You bet I’ll immediately rewatch the moment it is released on Disney+.
Element City is nothing short of gorgeous and full of inventive, playful touches to truly bring it to life. The voiceover, animation, and dialogue are excellent too, with just the right amount of humour to balance the heavy premise the story is built on.
The romance and how it plays out lacks punch—I partly agree with some complaints that the story is too lightweight and predictable. But since there is no lack of gritty movies that explore the worst of racial and immigration conflicts, I seriously don’t see what’s so wrong with having an optimistic one for a change.
On the negative reactions from professional reviewers, some of which are outright nasty, I think part of those stems from how the market has come to expect so much of Pixar movies. Correspondingly, everyone is bloodthirsty the moment any flaw is suggested.
I agree that Elemental doesn’t hit the sort of emotional highs found in classics like Finding Nemo, Wall-E, etc. And yeah, it’s a bit heavy-handed with its message of integration, without really considering the many difficulties on hand.
But these weaknesses do not make Elemental a bad Pixar movie, far from it. At the very least, it is visually magnificent.
I also find it uplifting. That’s not being naïve. It’s a wish that someday, everyone can make a sincere effort to get along.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.