Elemental Review

In the opening moments of Elemental, we see the Lumen family entering a new land. As they check in they say their names in their language. The teller at the desk can not understand them and decides to give them new names. For some generations, this opening scene might seem familiar. This might bring memories or stories of families when they first came to Ellis Island. This quick intro is a reminder that many of our families came from another place before moving to this country.

What follows next is we see the Lumen family get turned away from trying to get a place to live and end up living in an area that only the fire people live in. They open up a shop and we see as the years go by the neighborhood starts to thrive and more fire people are living there. With the growth of the shop, we also see the growth of Ember, voiced by Leah Lewis. While helping her family run the shop she is told that the shop will one day belong to her when she is ready. Ember feels that she is ready but has a temper issue that is not helpful when dealing with customers.

During a sale event in the shop, Ember has a situation that ends with Wade being pushed through the pipes in her parent’s store. Wade, voiced by Mamoudou Athie, works for the city and finds many violations in the store. He reports the violations which will result in the shop being closed down. Ember tries to persuade Wade to stop the closure and together they decide to work together to determine where the water was coming from.

FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT — In Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental,” fiery young woman Ember (voice of Leah Lewis) lives with her immigrant parents in Firetown—a borough of Element City, where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. Directed by Peter Sohn (“The Good Dinosaur,” “Party Cloudy” short) and produced by Denise Ream (“The Good Dinosaur,” “Cars 2”), Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental” releases on June 16, 2023. © 2023 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Elemental has a few storylines going on at one time. It is a rom-com between Ember and Wade. At the same time, it is a mystery with both of them trying to solve why water is slowly flowing into the Fire part of the city and how they can stop it. There is also the theme of xenophobia and class in the movie that we see through Ember’s and Wade’s families. Elemental is a take on Romeo and Juliet in that both Ember and Wade should not be dating each other since they are different elements. The themes are done in a way that is perfect for Pixar in that it is not too heavy-handed but told in a way that younger kids can understand what is going on.

Just like Soul and Inside Out, Pixar is dealing with more adult topics that might push viewers away from the movie. Elemental is slow to get going but once it does it is a beautiful story about finding yourself and being there for your family. The chemistry between Ember and Wade is adorable and I love that Wade is portrayed as an empathetic man. There are some amazing scenes like the basketball game that not only showcase the animation but also how Wade makes the people around him feel.

Courtesy of Pixar/Disney

Final Thoughts: Elemental is a love letter to all the immigrant parents who came to a new country for a better life for their children. It’s a love letter for all the children that helped their parents attain their dreams while putting theirs aside. It’s a great reminder that not everyone has the same experiences in life but we all want the same things: a better life for our families & for our children to live their dreams. While slow in some moments, Elemental reminds us about the importance of family. Stay after the credits for a beautiful message from the director to his parents!

Kid-Friendly: Elemental covers topics of Xenophobia, racism, family, and living your dreams. There are a lot of great messages in the movie and this is a story that kids need to see. The themes of racism might go over some of the younger kids’ heads, but they will enjoy the themes of love and family.

Violence: There is no physical violence in the movie. There is verbal violence in the way the Lumen family is treated when they come to the new world. We see prejudices in the way some elements look at each other.

Disney and Pixar’s “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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