Review: Elemental, Pixar’s animated tale of love

Ember and Wade on a poster for Elemental

Elemental is a Romeo and Juliette story about love between the elements Fire and Water. Luckily for all the children who will watch this one, neither of them die in the end.

Elemental features the elements earth, air, water, and fire. They all live in a big city but they don’t co-exist very well. Each element has its own neighborhood. Suspicion and fear run high between the various elements.

Ember (voiced by Leah Lewis) was the child of immigrants from the old country – the land of fire. To honor her traditional father, Ember was being readied to take over the family business, a fireplace shop. Leah Lewis was the reason I wanted to watch Elemental. I really love the sound of her voice.

Ember’s father, Bernie (Ronnie Del Carmen), was growing older and had a severe cough. Her mother Cinder (Shila Omni) encouraged him to retire and turn the shop over to Ember. He kept saying she wasn’t ready.

One day a pipe leaked in the basement. Out popped city inspector Wade (Mamoudou Athie). Wade was a water person. Ember had been warned all her life to stay away from water.

All sorts of circumstances kept Ember and Wade together. They had to stop leaks and dam up a broken wall. The more they were together, the better they liked each other. The love story here was very tender and slow.

Ember and Wade share a meal
Wade found a way for Ember to meet his family for a meal. Catherine O’Hara voiced his mother.

Just the love story being successful would have been plot enough for this movie, but it went further. The ways that Ember and Wade found to be together brought friendship and acceptance to other elements who hadn’t mixed, too. Love healed the divided world. A nice message for today’s broken society.

There was also a message of self-actualization. Ember had artistic talent. She didn’t really want to take over the fireplace shop, but she was ready to make the sacrifice to honor the traditions of her culture. Wade helped her find the courage to speak the truth to her father, who listened to what she had to say. She still managed to honor her culture in the process.

The cityscapes were dazzling, the animations were beautiful and clever. I wouldn’t list it as my all-time favorite Pixar movie, but it was well done and told a worthwhile story. Adults as well as children can enjoy it. There were some subtle double entendres for the adults to pick up and smile about.

Disney+ has this one available online now. If you watch it, leave a comment about what you thought of it.

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