Elemental (2023)
July 5, 2023 12:05 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] In a city where fire, water, land and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy will discover something elemental: how much they have in common.

Come for the beautiful visuals, stay for the metaphor for the immigrant experience, tolerate the punny names. I may have enjoyed it more than my 12-year-old did, but there's a lot in this to pay attention to.

Currently sitting at 76% (critics) and 92% (audience) fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by hanov3r (4 comments total)
Just saw this at the cinema yesterday and loved it! A really classic romcom from Pixar.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:58 AM on July 6, 2023

I think it's a real shame this is doing badly. It's a lot of fun as a film l, and I think the central romance and metaphor works well. This is not the best Pixar but it's honestly really solid.

That said, there are some parts which bug me. The film obviously has this metaphor of prejudice, with the architecture of the city actively working against the fire people. But while this is pointed out, it never seems to be addressed. The fundamental injustice of issuing someone a ticket for not maintaining a pipe system which, if the city was working properly shouldn't function at all is not really dealt with.

And the fact that the central drama is a shoddily maintained wall which, at the end, actively endangers the entire population of fire town, but this doesn't seem to lead to anyone getting fired. Gail, for instance, appears to be very unbothered about this extreme bit of negligence.

Also from a world building point of view, we are introduced late in the film to the idea that the water people all live in glass towers. Ok... Who makes these? It apparently isn't fire people, but making glass involves extreme heat, which evaporates water people, presumably sets fire to earth people? I guess it feels like a miss because there was an obvious example of symbiosis there that doesn't seem to have been noticed by anyone? I guess this is a film that just can't sustain examination of the world building, but it did bug me.

I thinj a lot of this feels worse in the first half when Wade is actively enforcing injustice. As soon as he and Ember team up it gets a lot better. And the relationship between ember and her father is terrific
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:44 AM on July 9, 2023

I finally saw it last night and it was marvelous. I'm glad it eventually caught on as a hit.

Yeah, there's some good points above about the plausibility of glass walls and the like. The fire people have to live somewhere where there's not so dang much water, which should be shut off, but they've got these water trains and big ol' boats going by and the like...oy.

Stuff that touched me:
(a) Wade using Ember's reflection through him to light the incense stick. That was MAGNIFICENT.
(b) The sponge foreshadowing and Wade being able to reconstitute himself after evaporating.
(c) "Why do they even have this security?" "No idea," i.e. Wade and Ember can just walk on through those fences.
(d) Ember's glass skills.
(e) That flower, I loved the flower. If they somehow manage to um, reproduce somehow (I read online they were considering having the two make a steam baby), I bet the kid gets named after the flower.

I kind of want to dress up as Ember for Halloween, but even I can't figure out how to do that outfit :P I love her shiny flame-retardant clothes.

I did get amused at how Wade is basically shirtcocking (minus, um, you know).

This is also amusing because sex is actually implied between Ember's parents and that tree couple, "pruning." I proceeded to make a lot of dirty jokes about "pruning" and wondering how Wade and Ember could "prune" later on.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:50 AM on September 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

The love story was great - watching them slowly see things in each other that they admire was a nice - ahem - slow burn. And Wade was by far the best character. All heart.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:03 PM on October 6, 2023

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