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Film Review

ELEMENTAL (2023) Review

Matt reviews ELEMENTAL, the latest release from Disney and Pixar. The animated adventure comes to UK cinemas on July 7, 2023.



Elemental (Disney/Pixar)

Disney releases Elemental in UK cinemas on July 7, 2023


An all-new original feature film that transports moviegoers to an extraordinary place called Element City, where a host of elements live and work. The trailer showcases each element—air, earth, water and fire—and what sets them apart according to Ember, a quick-witted and fiery woman who’s always stayed close to home in Firetown. In Elemental she finally ventures out of her comfort zone to explore this spectacular world born from the imaginations of Pixar’s filmmakers and specifically crafted for the big-screen experience. Element City is inspired by big cities around the globe and embraces theorized contributions from each elemental community—from giant pine-tree-like buildings and waterfall skyscrapers to a tornado-shaped arena called Cyclone Stadium.


Elemental is Pixars 27th feature film since beginning back in 1995. Focusing on an entirely new world where elements are people. Wind, water, earth and fire. While the first 3 get intertwined fairly easily, fire by its very nature struggles to blend in with the rest of Element City, this is the groundwork of the film and we follow Ember as she learns to step out of her neighbourhood of fire and into the vast and diverse cityscape. 

Focusing on the characters and cast first, Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie voice Ember and Wade respectively. They join the ever amazing list of actors who are perfectly cast in their roles thanks to the hardworking people at Pixar. Leah brings out her inner fire for Ember, the strong willed and firey tempered young fire woman trying to live up to her parents expectations to one day take over and run the family business. She’s a tough woman who never gives up but has a very hot temper when pushed too far.

Wade is the tonal opposite of Ember, he is free spirited water man, an open book and quick to cry but will come through for those he loves when he’s needed. Mamoudou nailed this role perfectly with this lovely guy who you can’t help but want to be friends with! He always makes his feelings known and despite her best efforts, he continuously pushes Ember out of her comfort zone.

At its heart this film is Pixars first attempt to create a romantic comedy which as an adult I loved but feel this and the subtext of the film would not resonate well with children. The screening I was in had plenty of adults transfixed onto the screen but had more than one child not as on board with the story. This leads me to the other focus on the films setting and story.

The film is very obvious with its allegory about immigration and the struggles people face when moving to an entirely new country. Embers parents moved to Element City with nothing but a suitcase and dreams of making a better life for their then unborn child. Through hard work and dedication they not only build their new home but help establish an entire community for fire people to live comfortably. But there is clear hostility between the fire people and the other elements and while Pixar tries to convey these points, it’s difficult to get across entirely while trying to maintain its target to younger audience. That being said, it does tackle this difficult topic in a more positive light that all sides have room to grow for a better tomorrow.

Elemental is a beautiful romantic comedy with some truly loveable characters and a very strong cast. The themes of immigration are tackled with enough finesse to get across without it drowning the movie with its message.  

The romance between Ember and Wade was really the centre of the movie and felt authentic, warm and genuine and this is thanks to the lead cast pouring their all into the roles.


Elemental is a beautiful romantic comedy, mixed in with themes of immigration, racism and learning to love regardless of differences, while it might not resonate to the younger audiences, the older bunch will love!



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