Elemental Spoiler-Free Movie Review: A Sweet but Forgettable Immigrational Story

Water guy Wade and Fire girl Ember stand together
A still from Pixar's Elemental

Elemental is the latest Disney Pixar film. Elemental is a sweet take on an immigration story, set in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic elements. In this movie, Ember tries to balance her parent's dreams for her life with her own desires. Directed by Peter Sohn, with screenplay by John Hoberg, Kat Likkel, and Brenda Hsueh. Starring the voice talents of Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Catherine O'Hara. 

Description of movie: Fire people Ember and her family have immigrated from Fireland to Element City, where fire, water, air, and earth cohabitate. They have found modest success running the family business, a convenience store called the Fireplace. Temperamental Ember isn't sure she's fit to be the owner when her dad retires, but she knows it's her dad's dream. When Ember meets a water guy building inspector named Wade, she begins to fall for his "go with the flow" personality. But how can they have a future when water and fire don't mix? This sweet immigration story is a tale of differences and bringing out the best in each other. 

The movie is strongest when portraying the all-too-real dynamics of immigrant families, as well the slow-boiling romance that forms between Ember and Wade. Setting the world within a frame of the four elements opened some interesting animation techniques, but ultimately, I think it took away from what may have been a stronger story overall. 

A still from Pixar's Elemental

Release info: Movie opens in theaters June 16, 2023 

Final score: 3 out of 5