Elemental: Forces of Nature (2023) Movie Review

Elemental: Forces of Nature is an animated film made by Pixar Animation Studios, an animation company that has been successful with phenomenal animated films, such as Cars, Toys Story, Inside Out, Coco and others. Pixar was later acquired by Walt Disney Studios in 2006 and became part of Disney Entertainment. Elemental is the 27th film from Pixar since the company started making Toy Story in 1995.

Elemental was directed by Peter Sohn who previously made the short animated short Party Cloudy (2009) and this is the second feature-length animated film from Sohn who previously made The Good Dinosaur (2015). One other interesting thing is that the 2022 MotoGP champion from Italy, Francesco Bagnaia made his debut as a voice actor. Bagnaia will be the voice actor for the residents of Element City who come from the air element.

Elemental: Forces of Nature (2023) Synopsis

Follows the story of Ember Lumen (Leah Lewis), a fire elemental girl who begins to take over responsibility to work at her father’s convenience store in Element City. Until an incident causes the water pipe to burst in his shop and causes flooding in the shop.

Review Elemental Forces of Nature

This attracts the attention of Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie), a city inspector from the water element who then intends to close Ember’s father’s shop. Ember then manages to persuade him not to shut it down and follows Wade to find out why, his adventures to various places in Element City finally open Ember’s mind and eyes about who he really is.

Elemental: Forces of Nature (2023) Movie Review

The arrival of the Lumen family to Element City

Elements from around the world are pursuing new dreams and lives in Element City, seeking greater opportunities for a better future.

Ember’s parents, Bernie Lumen (Ronnie Del Carmen) and Cinder Lumen (Shila Omni) are fire elements who immigrated to Element City in search of a better life and settled in the suburbs (sub urban) along with other fire elements that are now known. as Fire City.

It seems that Element City was built as a place to live, work and so on for the other elements, air, water and earth but not for fire elements hence they suffered unequal treatment. So Bernie and the others are forced to pull over to the outskirts of town.

Years later, the Lumen family successfully builds a business from scratch by building a convenience store to meet the daily needs of the fire elements. Their grown-up daughter Ember looks set to inherit the family business from her father once he retires.

Ember who respects his father’s wishes tries hard to fulfill his father’s wish, but his views change as soon as he meets Wade.

The man of the water element accidentally walks into Ember’s life on the day Ember is supposed to prove himself worthy to succeed his father.

Elemental Forces of Nature

One incident that brought Wade and Ember together

One mysterious leak that Wade later examines as a city inspector reveals that his shop needs to be closed. After Ember pleads that his shop is the only one his family owns, Wade changes his mind and the two embark on a journey to save the shop from being closed down by the city government.

Along the way they are attracted to each other and their chance meeting may actually be romantic destiny. Fire and water are incompatible and do not mix, Pixar goes for a romantic comedy formula whose premise is as old as time itself.

Where are the elements that are then translated into characters of the opposite sex and explore the possibilities when they finally become an unexpected partner.

Not only are the elements (races) different but their characters are also opposites, Ember is a hot-tempered fire girl and Wade is a sensitive water man.

In fact, if we are used to watching rom-com genre films the storyline is easily predictable, where a girl meets a boy, at first they don’t get along until something unexpected brings them together and they end up starting to fall in love.

Sohn in this film does not only focus on rom-com stories but also on exploring the dynamics of the father and son relationship between Bernie and Ember. Working tirelessly, he and his wife Cinder left their home country for Element City to start a new life.

He even teaches Ember to run a shop because Bernie has high hopes that one day his daughter will succeed him.

Sohn uses metaphors to explain the clash of races and cultures

The Elemental also uses metaphors about the clash of cultures and race relations between fire (Ember) and water (Wade). Ember’s father, Bernie, doesn’t like Wade’s presence, moreover Wade enters their lives, especially his daughter’s life.

Bernie is a typical old-fashioned man whose mind is rigid and conservative, which forbids Ember to have anything to do with someone who is not of his element (fire). He also assessed that being together with Wade would bring more harm than good.

This is what puts Ember in a difficult position and will cause more conflict between him and his father. In contrast to Wade, beneath his sometimes goofy personality, he is someone who has an open mind and is not afraid to express his feelings.

While Wade brings Ember to meet his family and displays a more relaxed side of his family, Wade’s parents are more receptive to Wade dating Ember.

Sohn also emphasizes other social issues regarding migrants or immigrants, in the beginning of the film we see a metaphor that depicts the Lumen family as foreigners who have come in search of a better future.

Where Element City is a representation of the land of opportunities and dreams for all elements to coexist even though the fire family is not accepted by other elements because they are considered dangerous and exiled to a remote corner of the city with other fire elements.

Peter Sohn takes this perhaps more as a reflection of his life experience, when his family came from Korea to America, where the family managed to open a grocery store in New York.

Elemental Forces of Nature Movie

The visuals are mesmerizing and mesmerizing

Speaking of Element City, the visualization and animation is stunning and slick, where we can see the architectural and multicultural views of this fictional metropolis shown in detail the areas each element lives in.

The elemental characters not only look cute but the way they move is also carefully crafted according to the characteristics of the elements.

For example, the erratic nature of fire can get brighter or dimmer depending on the emotion and the situation. The same could be seen in the movements of the reflective water elements, the fluidity of their movements was splendid and dazzling.

Because in terms of visual effects to make the visualization of water look alive is something that is quite difficult, but the team of animators from Pixar managed to make it happen by uniting the distinctive movements of each element to blend into a personality that looks humane.

Also with the musical score created by Thomas Newman which combines various musical instruments from different cultures, there are music from India, Native America, Tibet which produce a unique harmony as a whole and describe the harmony of the elements or the world.

In addition, many aspects of the Elemental film feel familiar to another Disney film, Zootopia (2016). A world where animals are personified like humans, both are artistic and connected.

Where in one scene when Wade and Ember try to find information from an earth element working in Wade’s office named Fern (Joe Pera) who moves slowly as if reminiscent of the character Flash (Raymond S. Persi) in Zootopia, whose movements and speech are very slow but dubbed as the fastest sloth working in the DMV section of the police force.

Conclusion Elemental: Forces of Nature

Elemental: Forces of Nature is a story about romance at its heart but also a story about cross-cultural love, a tale of the tenacity and struggles of immigrants who come to chase their dreams of a more promising life in the land of dreams and their quest to build their own path to success and life. side by side with other cultures.


Zephyrine is an experienced film critic who has worked for many magazines and websites specializing in cinema. She has a deep education in film history and theory, as well as a passion for classic and independent films. Writing style: Zephyrine always evaluates films objectively and honestly, not influenced by external factors such as the fame of actors or directors. She often focuses on the content, screenplay, technique, and personal feelings to provide insights and reviews of the film. Her writing style is easy to understand and familiar to readers, but also professional and profound. Notable articles: "Step Up" - Success comes from the perseverance and relentless effort of young people "The Social Network" - A fantastic documentary film about the birth of Facebook "Moonlight" - A touching story about love and the essence of humanity "Nomadland" - A poignant journey of a mature woman "Parasite" - A sensational film of Korean cinema with profound social messages.

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