Run time: 109 mins
Pixar’s first out-and-out love story, Elemental is packed with enough moving sentiment and punchy voice performances to delight adults and kids alike.
The latest animation from Pixar takes a high-concept setup – a sprawling metropolis, Element City, in which the residents, all made of either fire, water, air or earth, live in strictly segregated neighbourhoods – to explore a universal theme: the need for cultural acceptance and harmony.
At the heart of the story is a star-crossed romance between hot-headed fire girl Ember (Leah Lewis) and sappy, sweet-natured water guy Wade (Mamoudou Athie). Wade falls in love with Ember, whose incendiary talent for turning sand into glass might yet prove to be the making of them both. To find happiness, Wade has to prove himself to Ember and also to her suspicious parents.
Where Elemental really sizzles is in its central pair’s literal chemistry. Athie evokes hysterics and sincerity. He’s matched well by Lewis, and together they provide what feels like Pixar’s first proper rom-com, complete with awkward first dates and meeting the parents, all with an added layer of jeopardy around what would happen if they were to touch. Pixar demonstrates, once again, its ability to make you feel.