Premiere on Thursday 15Elementos
Elementos (Elemental, United States/2023). Directed by: Peter Sohn. Screenplay: John Hoberg, Kat Likkel, Brenda Hsueh, Peter Sohn. Photography: David Juan Bianchi, Jean-Claude Kalache. Music: Thomas Newman. Editing: Stephen Schaffer. With the English voices of: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie Del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Catherine O’Hara, Mason Wertheimer, Ronobir Lahiri. Duration: 108 minutes. Distributor: Disney. Qualification: suitable for all public. Our opinion: very good.
Pixar films, before and after Disney, use multiple resources and narrative layers to carry out a story better than their competitors. Simple gags for the little ones, the occasional double meaning in search of adult complicity, and an essence that articulates the story even when it is not the focus of the plot. What is The Incredibles but the story of a married couple on the verge of divorce? Or Toy Story with its metaphor about the passage of time and death? Everything is there, it is simply a question of how to approach it.
In the nice romantic mischief that forms the shell of Elementos, great debates of the present are intertwined, such as the migrant problem, discrimination, evolution thanks to the breaking of self-imposed cultural mandates, and the responsibility of parents in the construction of their children’s identity. In a setting of bright colors, an aura always on the verge of tears but without sentimentality, and moments of authentic visual poetry where words are not needed.
In Ciudad Elementos there are four zones: the fire zone, the water zone, the air zone, and the that of the earth. Its inhabitants live in harmony, even though many have an obvious resentment towards the people of fire, due to a combination of fear and contempt for their essence. The young Ember (which in Spanish means “ember”) dreams of taking over the polyrubro since she was a girl familiar.
However, when she reaches adolescence, she must face two great challenges: learning to control her temperament –which leads her to set fires in which nothing around her is safe– and discovering if following the path of her father in charge of the premises is part of her own desire or a consequence of “should be”. Continue reading the story.
In one of these incendiary rages, Ember breaks a pipe located in the basement of the business. This begins to flood (something that a priori should not happen in the fire neighborhood, since the supply was cut off many years before), and Wade emerges from the liquid, a friendly, carefree and extremely sensitive “water boy” who will help her to solve the mystery. Despite a disastrous first meeting, in the process they will meet their respective families, fall in love and have to fight against that of “the elements never mix”; that is, against their own prejudices. The idea of integration is at times reminiscent of the premise of Disney’s Zootopia, a lackluster previous attempt to walk similar paths.
No big stars in the voice cast, no band with a life of its own – even though the excellent “Steal The Show” de Lauv has everything to win the next Oscar for best song-, Elements is a manifesto for tolerance, which points to the new generations as responsible and architects of change. The same ones who, no matter how old they are, will enjoy the multiple levels of charm that the movie offers. Now and in the future.