ELEMENTAL. Similarity of opposites
Animated films under the Pixar brand do not shy away from important topics. Many of the studio’s most famous productions with a nice lamp in the logo talked about growing up, loss or dealing with expectations: parents, peers, society. Also in Elemental, the latest Pixar animation, which premiered at this year’s Cannes festival, we will find topics that are usually not easy to talk about. And again, the Disney-owned studio rose to the occasion, telling with great maturity the story of two elements, between which a great feeling was born.
Ember Lumen is a young, energetic and slightly explosive representative of the element of fire, who has been preparing for years to take over her parents’ store, who came to the City of Elements from abroad years ago. She probably would have been the manager of a thriving business a long time ago, if it wasn’t for the problems with controlling anger, which Ember has quite a lot. As a result of one of her numerous explosions, the girl damages the water system in her parents’ shop, as a result of which a certain Wade Ripple, a rather tearful construction supervision inspector, ends up there. Belonging to the “watery” citizens of the City of Elements, the boy notices a number of shortcomings in the construction of the store and, despite Ember’s numerous efforts, sends an inspection report to his superiors. Facing the vision of liquidating her parents’ life achievements, Ember vows to do everything to prevent the tragedy, and she is supported in this by Wade, a little late in realizing the importance of the situation.
Although at first it seems that the explosive fiery and the tearful watery will not be able to communicate in any way, Ember and Wade quickly open not only their worlds, but also their hearts. And both have quite a rich background: the boy, although he is a playboy himself and quite – literally and figuratively – transparent, comes from a wealthy and artistic family, while Ember’s parents represent the myth of the “American dream” (or rather “Elemental dream”), trying to keep a small business and hand it over to their daughter. The class character of the City of the Elements is clearly visible, unfortunately, the citizens of the city are also familiar with racism – Ember and her parents often fall victim to aversion towards the fiery elements, considered to be the most destructive element. Fortunately, Elemental does not become a story about the fight against racism – the explosive heroine decides to simply remain true to herself and not be discouraged by any adversities. However, before that happens, Ember and Wade will experience many touching and sometimes terrifying moments.
In Elemental, I found two absolutely unique scenes, one of which, on the scale of tearing, has the same potential as the famous crusher scene in Toy Story 3 or saying goodbye to Bing Bong in Inside Out. Naturally, I won’t write here which scene I mean, but I believe that both sequences I mentioned – I will reveal that one of them takes place underwater – will evoke similar emotions in you.
Elemental is simply beautiful, the play of colors and lights is delightful, as are all the sequences of changing shape and combining the elements. There are also some clearly spectacular scenes here, such as a windball match (a kind of local Quidditch), and many places are really amazing (the Lumen store is a magical place!). In a word: Pixar at its best.
In the introduction to this text, I have already written about the fact that the films of this studio have repeatedly touched on important topics, and this is what becomes the biggest problem Elemental. With all its charm, it remains a work of little unique, because it is somewhat secondary to the extensive and otherwise excellent output of Pixar. This does not mean that the film by Peter Sohn, the creator of The Good Dinosaur is not worth choosing – just set your expectations at the right level. Because while Elemental is a really successful animation, it cannot be listed next to the most groundbreaking achievements of Pixar.