Pixar, one of the most recognized animation studios in the world, has already gained critical acclaim for its latest film, Elements. The studio is responsible for creating some of the most beloved animated films of all time, including Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Inside Out, and Soul, among others. With such a legacy, fans naturally have high expectations for each new Pixar release.
The film, directed by Peter Sohn and featuring an all-star vocal cast, takes audiences on a journey into a world where the elements of nature are anthropomorphic. The story revolves around the chance encounter of two elements, Ember Lumen (Leah Lewis) and Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie), who are unable to touch but strive to maintain a relationship despite their differences. As they navigate their relationship, they must also contend with powerful adversaries and their own families.
Elements has been in development since 2015, following the release of The Good Dinosaur. Sohn pitched the concept to Pixar, exploring the idea of whether fire and water could ever connect. The film draws upon Sohn’s experiences growing up as the son of immigrants in New York during the 1970s, adding a cultural and ethnic nuance unique to the city.
During production, the team took virtual tours of Venice and Amsterdam via YouTube to gain inspiration. The seven-year production of Elements used advanced animation tools to define the look and visual effects of each character, particularly Ember and Wade.
Reviews of Elements are mixed, with some calling it visually outstanding but lacking in substance. As with all Pixar films, however, the audience will be the ultimate judge of its success.
Pixar has a long history of exploring profound and universal themes through animation. Films like Inside Out visualize abstract psychological concepts in an understandable way, while Soul examines themes of life, death, and purpose. Despite some recent setbacks, Pixar continues to push the boundaries of what can be achieved through animation.
Whether Elements will join the ranks of Pixar’s greatest films remains to be seen. Critics have given it a 64% rating, with some highlighting its beautiful animation and others criticizing its lack of depth. Ultimately, though, only time will tell how much of an impact this film will have on the studio’s legacy.