Pixar and Disney have always had a massive role in my childhood. Usually, it was filled with laughter between me and my sister, but it also was filled with tears (Up broke me.) Either way, they raised my sister and I, and they taught us about family and grief. They taught us life lessons. They gave us hours of laughter and memories, quotes which we reference daily and characters that we hold close to our hearts. Elementals had the potential to do this, but sadly, they didn’t perfect it in my eyes. However, this may be due to my very critical outlook and how I compare these newer films to absolute classics. Believe me, when it comes to anything Disney or Pixar, it takes a miracle for it to come anywhere near my top 1o.
Firstly, I needed a connection with the story of Elemental. After some knock out cartoons after the past few years (like Mario Brothers) I found that Elemental was very on the nose, and we already knew exactly what would happen with every twist or possible turn. The moral was beautiful, and as a daughter of very eager parents, I connected with Ember’s close connection with them and the need to make them proud. But once again, there was a lack of drive behind the plot. When there was a moment of action, there was no tension to back it up; we never really felt that there was much danger or risk. If they had spent more time on the consequences or the fact that she doesn’t want to run her father’s shop, then we would have had a deeper connection with the plot or the moments of action. It was close to doing that, but with its lack of focus, many of the scenes become forgettable by the end.
We also struggled to laugh with the comedy of Elemental, and when this is standing alongside the wit of characters of Mike Wazowski, honey, you have no chance. Yes, there were moments when they tried, but they were too obvious, and they had been used so many times before. There was a lack of singularity to the film, which saddened us because there was so much room for potential. What I love about Pixar is that I could watch it at any age and feel a sense of comfort, and I would always laugh because the jokes would range.
The animation was stunning, though. It reminded us of how realistic and powerful animation is now; multiple shots were so detailed that they looked like they could be a part of everyday life. It reminded us a lot of the Zootopia world. I also loved the attention to scientific detail. However, I wish Elemental focused more on how the elements could work together to create a new world and how they need each other to live. Even a moment where they are all fixing fire town together and accepting each other into everyday life and society. To symbolise that even though fire is seen as destructive, they’re required as equally as any other element.⠀
Will Elemental make it in my top 15 Pixar films? No it probably wouldn’t. It wasn’t at the level that other Pixar films are at, it lacked the flame to get it going. Sadly, I wish I had connected with it more, and if it focused a little more on the smaller elements, it probably would have made the list. But I can’t deny it was an hour of fun, and even though it wasn’t perfect, it was still miles and miles ahead of The Good Dinosaur. Now that was traumatising.⠀
Where did Elemental end up in your Pixar ranking?