Elemental Movie Review: Exciting New 2023 Movie From Pixar

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Set in Element City, Elemental is a visually stunning movie following an unlikely pair who find they are more alike than different in this race against time.

Elemental is one of those movies that I wanted to see but I wasn't sure what it was about or if I would enjoy the movie. I knew the movie would make me laugh and cry because that's what Pixar does. I was also excited to see the “lost” Dug Days episode Carl's Date. (It wasn't really lost but it was supposed to be released with Dug Days and wasn't.)

I wasn't expecting one of my children to be nervous that Elemental would be too scary for them since it was Pixar's first attempt at a rom-com. But even animated films can have intense scenes that are traumatic (hello, Lion King).

elemental movie poster

Set in Element City, where Fire-, Water-, Earth- and Air-residents live together, Elemental 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.

Let's break it down without spoilers.

Elemental Movie Review

Elemental is a visually stunning allegory about the immigrant experience, discrimination, segregation, micro-aggressions, and cross-cultural relationships that occur every day. As well as the unique challenges faced by the children of immigrants and refugees who are trying to give their families a better life.

Elemental Movie Review image of Elemental City

Peter Sohn drew upon his own story as the inspiration for Elemental.

My parents came here from Korea in the late sixties, early seventies, to New York and they didn't have a lot of money. They had no family. They didn't speak any English and, but they managed to create a beautiful life here in the Bronx… I have so many memories of growing up in this shop and all my dad's customers came from everywhere and like my parents, they left their homes to come to a new land and they all were mixing into beautiful little neighborhoods with their cultures and the languages and so from that came this.

Peter Sohn
Elemental Movie Review: Exciting New 2023 Movie From Pixar 1

The movie takes place in Element City where Fire, Water, Earth, and Air residents live together peacefully. Kind of. Element City was built for Water, Earth, and Air residents with Fire residents being pushed to a forgotten area of the city. While Fire residents thrive in their burrow of the city, there is a lot of mistrust and angst between them and the other elements – especially Water residents.

While there is no direct cursing in the film, there are curse word stand-ins. Discriminatory comments said to fire folks, like when they are told to “go back to Fireland,” as well as insults like “stupid” and “jerk” and words like “lazy ash.”

Make sure to bring your tissues. With the classic Pixar movie equation that we've all grown to expect and love, the story is touching in all the best ways.

With a runtime of 1 hour and 43 minutes, this is the perfect family movie. Even my teen and tweens who weren't excited about this movie left the theater saying that they loved it.

Elemental is one of those movies that I can see myself watching over and over again. Honestly, that hasn't happened for a while.

While there isn't an end-credit scene, we loved reading all the funny graphic signs and labels filled with puns that you would find in Element City.

Elemental Movie Review: Exciting New 2023 Movie From Pixar 2

Have you watched Elemental? What did you think? Tell me below!

Elemental Cast

Leah Lewis as Ember Lumen

Mamoudou Athie as Wade Ripple

Ronnie del Carmen as Bernie Lumen

Shila Ommi as Cinder Lumen

Mason Wertheimer as Clod

Wendi McLendon-Covey as Gale Cumulus

Catherine O’Hara as Brook Ripple

Joe Pera as Fern Grouchwood

Ronobir Lahiri as Harold

Wilma Bonet as Flarrietta

Matt Yang King as Alan / Lutz / Earth Pruner

Clara Lin Ding as Little Kid Ember

Reagan To as Big Kid Ember

Jeff Lapensee as Sparkler Customer

Ben Morris as Wood Immigration Official

Jonathan Adams as Flarry

Alex Kapp as Customer / Delivery Person / Earth Landlord

P.L. Brown as Doorman

Elemental Easter Eggs

What is an Easter Egg doing in a movie? Well, it's not an actual Easter Egg. An Easter Egg is a secret, joke, or reference to something hidden in the film that enhances both its entertainment value and shows its greater place in the Disney/Pixar universe.

Did you know every Pixar movie includes “A113” somewhere in the movie? It's true! A113 refers to the character animation classroom at CalArts, where most of Pixar's head creatives attended.

In Elemental, you need to be familiar with the atomic symbols and atomic numbers on the periodic table to catch that “A,” “H,” and “Al” are codes for “A113.”

There are so many element themed puns for items you've likely seen in the grocery store. For example, “Dr. Diesel” soda would be Dr. Pepper and “Lightfinger” would be Butterfinger.

My favorite Easter Egg references Pixar's next movie Elio which is supposed to release next Spring. Just like the character Wade appeared as a cartoon mascot on water bottles in a vending machine in Lightyear, in the background of a flashback, there is a poster that reads “Join the Space Club” with an image of a ringed planet-like object that has been revealed in the concept art for Elio.

Apparently, there is also a character from Elio in Elemental. In an interview with director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream (via YouTube), Ream explains that the filmmakers hid a character from Elio somewhere in Elemental. I couldn't find it but I'm excited to see who is found!

Even Dug from the Pixar film “Up” is hidden in Elemental. His fur is replaced by grass, but you'll have to see the movie to find him!

Which Easter Eggs did you find?

Elemental Movie Trailer

Elemental | Official Trailer

Follow Elemental on Social

Website – https://www.pixar.com/elemental

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PixarElemental/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/pixarelemental

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/pixarelemental/

Hashtag – #Elemental

About Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar Animation Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award®-winning film studio with world-renowned technical, creative, and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. The Northern California studio has created some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E,” “Up,” “Brave,” “Inside Out,” “Coco” and “Turning Red.” Its movies and technology have won 40 Academy Awards® and the films have grossed more than $14 billion at the worldwide box office. “Lightyear,” Pixar's 26th feature, is now streaming on Disney+. 

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