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Call me a sentimental fool, but I fell head over heels in love with Pixar’s charming Elemental, which for the little new ground it treads still awes you with striking visuals and magical emotion.

Such has been the success of Pixar over the past three decades that when the wonderfully animated yet narratively familiar Elemental premiered at the recent Cannes Film Festival it met with a muted shrug. That's a disservice to the picture in my regard, as I was moved close to tears by its beautiful message.

Elementals imagines a world wherein anthropomorphised versions of the four main elements cohabit a cosmopolitan city. Age-old prejudice seems destined to keep young hothead Ember and emotional waterworks inspector Wade yet - against all odds - they fall in love with eachother.

Cue a Romeo and Juliet-style romance of star-crossed lovers that has few surprises up its sleeve. But are surprises really necessary when the protagonists are this lovingly created and director Peter Sohn - a son of Korean immigrants - draws upon his own family history to colour the romance with a poignant backstory about parental affection?

With a winning mix between astute character development, funny gags and visuals that might borrow heavily from Studio Ghibli but amaze nevertheless in bringing the specific treats of all the elements vividly to life, Elemental provides as joyous an evening at the movies as you're likely to have this year.

So forget about some of the snooty notices critics have given Pixar's latest. This is by far the best film the studio has produced in nearly a decade.

release: 2023

director: Peter Sohn

starring: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Joe Pera, Sheila Vosough


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