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Elemental

Elemental

A young girl undergoes an emotional trial by fire in Pixar's new summer film, and we're pleasantly surprised by it.

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Welcome to Element City: a metropolis where every element lives in perfect harmony. Well, everyone minus the segregated fire people who are forced to live with poor infrastructure and constant prejudice about the destructiveness of the fire people. One of these individuals is Ember Lumen, an excitable flame who will one day inherit her father's shop - a dream he has worked towards all his life. But when an inspector, a handsome waterman named Wade, threatens to shut down the store, Ember is forced to team up with Wade to save the store. Along the way, she realises that she herself must put aside her preconceived notions and open her mind to understand the world better.

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Pixar has not been able to reach the sky-high bar it has set for itself for many years. Whilst I enjoyed Lightyear and Turning Red (both of which I gave eights), it's also clear that the creative freedom and timelessness that once defined the studio has been missing. Elemental belongs to this post-Pixar category, where you are introduced early on to a world that never really convinces in its logic of the coexistence of the elements. It also initially feels like a loose imitation of Zootroplis, a film that is thematically stronger than Elemental's clumsy message of tolerance. The set-up for the love story is a bit too elemental, so to speak.

Yet... I found myself engrossed and drawn to the chemistry that the opposing characters managed to concoct. The spark that arises between the young flame and water character is realistic and incredibly sweet, where you quickly forget about the weaker pillars of world building. It's incredibly easy to sympathise with these ill-fated lovers as they learn more about each other and thus the world during their life-changing journey, with the only thing holding them back from falling in love being the fear of physically extinguishing each other. It's all clichéd and the way the story unfolds won't surprise anyone, but in terms of characterisation, Pixar has hit the mark and the relationship - or rather the reaction - between these opposites is worth watching.

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Visually, this is also a triumph for the animation studio. I wasn't initially thrilled with the way the fire people looked, but I was so impressed with the way the characters constantly moved, wobbled, staggered and sparkled that I quickly dropped those initial doubts. It's a fireworks display of colours, textures and shapes that will entertain even the youngest members of the audience - although they may not take to the romcom aspect as well as the older members of the audience. The most magical thing about Elemental, however, is Thomas Newman's dreamy music composition, because if the story doesn't manage to wring a tear from the corner of your eye, Newman's flowing and glowing tones certainly will.

Elemental

Elemental may not be that innovative Pixar film you've long been looking for and basically feels like one of those short films that was shown before the feature film began, but I also can't overlook how pleasant the film experience actually is if you just let yourself flow with the film's soothing current. It's an ordinary but relatable movie that we've seen before, but it bears repeating in this distinct, unique animation style. It is cosy, warm, and refreshing and delightful to watch.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
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Elemental

Elemental

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by André Lamartine

A young girl undergoes an emotional trial by fire in Pixar's new summer film, and we're pleasantly surprised by it.



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