Elemental is the 27th animated feature from the PIXAR studio and the 2nd to be released in cinemas since the pandemic. It was part of the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was screened out of competition. Will this film help PIXAR return to success after the very mixed reception of its last feature, Lightyear? Let me tell you what I think.


In Element City, fire, water, earth and air live in perfect harmony. This is the home of Ember, an intrepid, quick-witted young woman with a strong character, and Wade, a sentimental, fun-loving boy who’s more of a follower at heart. Their friendship challenges Amber‘s beliefs about the world they live in…

Finally, the Pixar we’ve been waiting for

After 3 films released on Disney Plus and a relative failure at the cinema, Elemental allows PIXAR to get back in the spotlight. To begin with, the visuals are magnificent. The animation of the flamboyants (fire), with its blend of 2D and 3D, is magnificent. The studio lets us immerse ourselves in this new universe right from the start, and we believe it. Each element has its own characteristics, and the film continually plays with them. Which means we’re always surprised. Their interactions give the universe an almost plausible feel. To draw a comparison, this is the aspect that was missing from the film Zootopia. In Zootopia, the animals live with each other and that’s that. Here, the different elements have learned to live together, or at least more or less.

Double meaning

As in all good PIXAR films, the double or triple reading is the richness of the films. Here, Element City is almost a metaphor for the United States. We learn that none of the elements lived here at the beginning. The aquatic people (water) arrived, then the earth people, then the air people and finally the flamboyant people. The first 3 learned to live together. The last, being incompatible by nature, finds himself more or less excluded from the society in which he hopes to flourish. I see this as a comparison with the various European settlers who created American society together and when other cultures arrived, they were excluded.

In addition to the natural incompatibility, we regularly see language difficulties on the part of the heroine’s father. At the beginning of the film, we see a perfect example of the language barrier when Amber‘s father and mother arrive in Element City. The first 3 elements have been able to create a common culture from which the Fire People are excluded. Having failed to integrate, they focus on their original culture and want to preserve it. In addition, the weight of succession and success, as well as traditions, are illustrated by the passing of the shop torch from father to daughter.

A love story

The film makes no secret of this. We witness the birth of their love. The film takes its time, each moment they spend together making the story even more believable. Throughout the film, we wonder how they will ever be able to really be together. We see them ignoring each other throughout the euphoric early stages of their relationship. They discover each other beyond their nature. However, as the film progresses, we see, as do the characters, the difficulties they have to face.

Elemental – Conclusion

For me it’s a big YES. It’s a film that I enjoy watching, both for the story and for what it has to offer. It’s really worth seeing and will appeal to everyone, young and old alike. PIXAR shows us that they can still manage to entertain us while tackling serious, contemporary subjects.