disclosure: I received a Digital code for Elemental in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.
Welcome to Element City, where the fiery Ember Lumen and the go-with-the-flow Wade Ripple are about to discover what happens when fire meets water in Pixar Animation Studios’ dazzling and imaginative Elemental, which debuted on all major digital platforms August 15 and will arrive on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD September 26.
If I had to describe Pixar’s 27th movie in one word, it would be ‘flat.’ Let me explain…
Elemental features a Fire girl and a Water boy, who fall in love in the worst ethnic rom-com kind of way. But, this is a Pixar movie, so are we surprised? I generally try to find the positive in all the movies we watch, but this one is tough. We made it almost to the end before I even remembered to look for the “A113” reference and the Pizza Planet truck. We were just that focused on trying to follow this movie and connect with the plot. Don’t get me wrong – the movie is visually stunning. Colors are vibrant. But I really cannot say too much more. Everything else about this movie felt flat – the plot, the soundtrack, the characters.
The plot is simple – you know what is happening, but there is no reason for why anything is happening. It just happens. Problems are an “easy-fix” with no follow up on how the band-aids are replaced when needed. The soundtrack is flat, whereas most songs sound the same(or maybe it is just one very long song?). The characters are just simple, wearing their hearts on their sleeves. I found myself questioning “why” an awful lot throughout this film.
As for the title, you might think that more than just two elements would be featured in the movie. Even just the basic four(earth, water, fire, air) would have sufficed. The movie focuses on fire, with water as the supporting cast. Earth and air are just the brief comic reliefs, which could leave you wondering why they are even a part of the movie in the first place.
One bright spot in this release is the return of Pixar shorts. “Carl’s Date,” featuring Carl from UP, takes us on the preparations Carl makes as he reluctantly decides to go on a date. He enlists his best friend, Dug, to help remind him how to date. While I was ready for Carl to date again, my heart was not as prepared. In the most touching of scenes, Carl pays tribute to Ellie, and I ugly cried the most ugly of cries ever. I was not ready for that! If you only get Elemental to see this short, it is 200% worth it.
Bonus features included in this release are:
Carl’s Date – Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® Award winner Bob Peterson and produced by Kim Collins, this all-new short, “Carl’s Date,” finds Carl reluctantly agreeing to go on a date with a lady friend —but admittedly with no idea how dating works these days. Ever the helpful friend, Dug steps in to calm Carl’s pre-date jitters and offer some tried-and-true tips for making friends — if you’re a dog. “Carl’s Date” opened in theaters in front of Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental.”
- Ember and Wade – Take a deeper look at the development of main characters Ember and Wade, from early designs to final effects, and learn how the complex work of the technical and character teams brought these characters to life.
- Next Stop: Element City – Explore how Element City is built to accommodate its different inhabitants. Director Peter Sohn and crew members share insights about the evolution of the designed world, as well as some of the research that inspired its unique look.
- Paths to Pixar: The Immigrant Experience – Hear from first-generation filmmakers on the Elemental crew as they share their journeys to Pixar. Discover how Elemental’s real-world themes of sacrifice and identity, amongst many others, reflect or diverge from their own lived experiences.
Director Peter Sohn introduces five scenes that are storyboarded, set to music, timed, and voiced, but are not included in the final version of Elemental.
- Intro Ember – An alternate opening in which our hero Ember helps a newly immigrated Fire family navigate through, and acclimate to, Element City. Scene introduced by director Peter Sohn.
- Mom Rejects Wade – Ember’s traditional parents learn that she’s enamored with watery Wade…and it doesn’t go well. Scene introduced by story supervisor Jason Katz.
- Dante Challenge – In an attempt to keep Ember apart from Wade, Bernie tasks her with finding a place to live for newcomer Dante, who Wade finds himself rather enamored with. Scene introduced by story artist Nira Liu.
- Brook Dinner – Ember joins Wade for dinner at his home, in this abandoned storyline in which Wade’s mother, Brook, is revealed to be the villain diverting water into Firetown. Scene introduced by story artist Anna Benedict.
- Beach Proposal – Sharing a tender moment on the beach, Ember and Wade propose marriage to each other. Scene introduced by story artists Yung-Han Chang and Le Tang.
Elemental Filmmaker Commentary – Join director Peter Sohn, supe tech Sanjay Bakshi, supervising animator Mike Venturini, and directing animator Gwendelyn Enderoglu as they provide insight into the making of this remarkable animated feature while you watch it.
*bonus features vary by product and retailer
A Disney blooded, crafty, fun-lovin’ wife/mom/organizer/planner, etc who is obsessed with all things Disney 🙂 Maria grew up with the Magic Kingdom and has loved watching WDW evolve into what it is today. A firm believer in the Power of Pixie Dust, she is the owner of The Disney Driven Life – A Community for Neurotic Disney People & a d.i.y. crafty blog, Carousel of Projects – create~inspire~share.