In Element City, the budding romance between Ember and Wade could burn bright or get washed out and it all depends if they want to stay together.
Disney/Pixar’s Elemental is based on director Peter Sohn’s childhood in New York after his family emigrated from Korea in the early 1970s and built a bustling grocery store in the Bronx.
The story is set in Element City, where fire, water, land, and air residents live together.
The animated film follows the budding love story between Ember Lumen, a fiery woman, and Wade Ripple, a fun, sappy and go-with-the-flow guy.
The stellar cast includes Leah Lewis as Ember, Mamoudou Athie as Wade, Ronnie del Carmen as Bernie Lumen, Shila Ommi as Cinder Lumen, Wendi McLendon-Covey as Gale Cumulus, Catherine O’Hara as Brook Ripple, Mason Wertheimer as Clod, and Joe Pera as Fern Grouchwood.
What to expect?
Elemental lightly plays on the forbidden love story between Ember and Wade simply due to their different cultures aka elements.
While it’s based on an immigrant story in the United States, the story themes are also applicable and relatable in multiracial countries like Malaysia.
One of the themes touched on the trappings of tradition such as filial piety, but on a surface level. Without giving much away, Ember feels the pressure to live up to her parent’s expectations.
Elemental’s story, similar to films such as Turning Red, also reminds parents to let their children grow into their own people.
In terms of the artistic direction, the film’s team skilfully showed the different communities in the form of earthly elements. It also helps that the world-building and design in Element City were wonderful to behold.
Disney/Pixar’s animation is always great due to its attention to detail. In Elemental, the properties of the elements were carefully shown such as how surfaces reflect on Wade’s watery surface.
It’s not so much of a gripe but I expected a larger story regarding the cause of the seawall breaking.
However, I suppose it was a good thing the story did not go down that plot or it would have veered into cliché storytelling and lost focus on the love story.
That said, the seawall plot still felt underdeveloped since it only functioned as a problem to bring the two lovebirds together.
Should you watch or skip it?
I enjoyed watching the film and would watch it again if it’s released on Disney Plus Hotstar.
It’s a good watch if you’re looking for something light to watch or a film to feed your creative imagination by exploring Element City with Ember and Wade.
Elemental will be shown in local cinemas near you on 22 June 2023.