Review: Calling Elemental Disney Pixar’s most imaginative film ever wouldn’t be an overstatement. The plot of this film is set in the Element City – a hotshot and colourful metropolis showing off its high-tech gadgets and state-of-the-art infrastructure where the elements of nature namely water, fire, earth, and air reside. While the rest co-exist peacefully, Bernie (the fire voiced by Ronnie del Carmen) is an eyesore for everyone for he has immigrated from the Fire city. Bernie and his family are treated as an outcast due to their inflammable and destructive nature but the enterprising couple somehow manages to thrive even in a city where they are not welcome. For Bernie, his daughter Ember is the heir apparent to his modest convenience store called ‘Fireplace’ but she needs to get a grip on her anger issues. However, before Ember can fix that her fiery outburst causes a pipe burst in their basement that inadvertently leads Wade Ripple, a water element health inspector right into her life. What happens next forms the crux of this quirky and unpredictable film that takes its audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Writers John Hoberg, Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh give us endearing and real characters who are so easy to relate with. This despite the fact that they are powerful and mystical elements of nature and we have so far viewed them in a very different light. But ‘Element’ doesn’t just give them a voice. It humanises them by giving them real emotions and a deeply touching story that resonates with the audience. The makers successfully transport us into the Element city – a cool vibrant place where imagination runs wild. The breathtaking shots (by cinematographers David Juan Bianchi and Jean-Claude Kalache) and the pitch-perfect animation by team Pixar is a delight to watch on the big screen. It literally feels like an out of the world experience that comes alive with spectacularly vivid colours and mesmersing imagery. The deeply moving and acoustic original score by Thomas Newman that seems heavily influenced by the Indian ethos, add a layer of mystic to the proceedings. The screenplay moves at a consistent pace without ever feeling like a drag even when there are a few moments of repetitive conflict.
The film’s language isn’t full of corny puns but a smart usage of relevant terms that relate with fire and water to create a perfect harmony of comedic and timely punches. Even simple stuff like Wade telling Ember that she’s hot comes across as endearing. In fact, the idea of water and fire in love is beautifully captured with all its quirks firmly in place. Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie and the rest of the cast does full justice in giving their characters a human touch. Yes, it is over-simplified but that’s no dampner. The story and its execution’s rich emotional fabric is goosebumps inducing. The far-fetched idea of giving powerful forces like water and fire human-like vulnerabilities and insecurities is totally convincing and makes you laud the sheer power of imagination.
Elemental is an experience for the big screen for the whole family. It’s dreamy, surreal and magically entertaining without a moment of dullness. Do not miss it for the world.