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Disney/Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ Is A Surprisingly Engaging, Entertaining Movie

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

Pixar studios has, ever since the debut of its first-ever movie, Toy Story, in 1995, proven to be one of the leaders in the world of animated movies.  Yes, the studio has had some misses here and there throughout its history like any studio, but for the most part, the company has offered audiences of all ages so much worth watching; so much more than even its corporate partner, Walt Disney Studios.  Some of the most notable of the studios’ movies include the likes of CarsCoco, and what is really the studio’s pinnacle, Up.  Early this year, Pixar continued to cement its reputation as a leader in the animation industry with the release of its latest animated feature, Elemental.  Having made its theatrical debut June 16 (almost a year to the day after the theatrical debut of its immediate predecessor, Lightyear), the movie is now set for home release Sept. 26.  For those who have yet to see this latest offering from Pixar, it proves a presentation worth watching at least once in part because of its story, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its forthcoming home release makes for its own interest and adds at least a little bit to the viewing experience.  It will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s animation style rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered they make Elemental maybe not Pixar’s best work to date but still a movie that is worth watching.

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

Elemental, the latest animated offering from Pixar Studios, is one of the most unsuspectingly interesting movies to come from any of Hollywood’s major studios so far this year.  In an age when so many movies out there are either prequels, sequels, reboots, movies based on books or based on actual events, this feature stands alone as a needed break from what is otherwise the norm for audiences.  It proves its appeal in part because, as noted, it is not just another movie of the noted masses.  Rather, it is a story that while not original by any means, takes on a familiar topic in a distinctly original fashion.  The story in question tackles the matter of the immigrant experience and multiculturalism.  At the same time, it is also a coming-of-age story of sorts.  The whole is told through the arrival of Bernie (Ronnie Del Carmen – UpInside OutFreakazoid!) and his wife, Cinder (Shila Ommi – The IllegalThe Bold TypeLittle America) as they arrive in Element City.  Their daughter, Ember (Leah Lewis – Nancy DrewThe Half of It) grows up between the old ways of her parents and the new ways of Element City while also dealing with the obvious prejudices and biases of the city’s residents.  While the other elements – earth, air, and water – all seem to be relatively OK with one another, none of them seem to like the fire people, which is an interesting starting point for discussions on the matter of people’s prejudices and the irony therein.

Throughout the course of the movie, Ember befriends Wade (Mamoudou Athie — Jurassic World: DominionBlackboxUncorked) and the duo eventually become much closer.  The couple’s blossoming romance leads at one point to a scene at Wade’s home that unquestionably is a throw back to Columbia Pictures’ 1967 hit movie, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.  It is a moment that while not a direct reference, clearly is connected to that movie and is sure to make audiences happy since it somewhat turns that famous moment on its ear.  On a related note that will be examined later, that sequence in question actually involves a deleted scene that is revealed as a bonus feature.  In watching the scene in question, audiences will agree removing the scene was the right choice.  The very aspect of the young lovers’ relationship can also be compared – to a point – to that of Maria and Tony being that one is an immigrant (of sorts in this case) and the other is not.  Keeping that connection in mind along with the connection to Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and the note of the original way in which the story’s creative heads crafted this story, the whole therein makes this movie’s story a relatively strong foundation for its presentation.

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

Resting on the presentation is the aforementioned bonus content.  One of the most interesting of the bonuses is the collected deleted scenes.  Among the most notable of the deleted scenes is the scene in which Wade’s mother, Brook (Catherine O’Hara – FrankenweenieA Mighty WindBest In Show) is revealed to be a villain.  The full explanation of the scene ahead of its presentation is certain to surprise audiences and will be left for viewers to discover for themselves. Thankfully that early draft element ended up being tossed in favor of Brook being fully supportive of Wade and Ember.  The result is a great contrast to the somewhat more close-minded nature of Bernie, adding even more to the story.

Another notable deleted scene is an early introduction of Ember as a young woman instead of a child, as is shown in the final product.  The sequence’s introduction is enlightening, especially when the scene is watched.  It is another sequence that would have changed quite a bit of the story unnecessarily.

Moving to another of the bonus featured included with the movie’s home release, the explanation of the movie’s look is crucial in its own right, even for those who might otherwise not have a major interest in that aspect.  It shows the process that went into creating the world of Element City, with crew members openly stating that the intent was in fact for Element City to look like New York.  To that end, viewers who got the sense of New York early in the story were right in their belief.  It helps to make suspension of disbelief all the easier and in turn engage audiences all the more.

Speaking of the look of Elemental, this aspect rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements.  Unlike so many of Pixar’s movie’s the look of Elemental actually boasts its own identity.  The distinctly angular look of so many of Pixar’s movies has been replaced here with something that has more of a fluid look.  It is a new and welcome approach that plays into the movie’s aesthetic appeal, just as much as the approach that the crew took to the familiar story element.  It gives hope that maybe, just maybe, Pixar’s creative teams will take more of this approach moving forward and give more of its movies their own identity, too, just like Disney’s classic films.  That is something that is so sorely missing from today’s computer-generated fair.  To that end this aspect of Elemental proves just as crucial to the movie’s success as anything else even as minute as it might be.  When it is considered alongside the way in which the familiar story was delivered and alongside the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its forthcoming home release, the whole makes Disney/Pixar’s upcoming home release of Elemental a surprisingly enjoyable movie that is actually worth watching at least once.

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

Elemental, the latest full-length computer animated feature from Disney and Pixar, is an intriguing new offering from the companies.  Its interest comes in part through its story.  The story tackles a topic that is all too familiar in the annals of cinema history, in the form of being an immigrant’s story and a coming-of-age tale.  It is delivered in a fashion that is unique to the topic.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release adds to the enjoyment because of how much it enriches the movie’s presentation.  It collectively proves that bonus content can actually make or break a movie just as much as the writing and acting.  The movie’s animation rounds out its most important elements.  That is because a close examination reveals the animation is in fact unique from other features from Pixar.  It gives the movie its own identity in terms of its stylistic approach.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Elemental.  All things considered they make the movie a surprisingly welcome offering among what is otherwise a forgettable mass of big screen features so far this year.

Elemental is scheduled for home release Sept. 26.  More information on this and other titles from Pixar is available at: