Elemental Comedy/Fantasy Review

At its best, Pixar is unbeatable, making intelligent, charming and original films that touch the heart and stimulate the imagination. And so, it was disheartening to see how the animation studio behind emotional triumphs such as “Toy Story”, “Ratatouille”, “Up” and “Inside Out” — among the best films of their respective years, without exception — has recently fallen behind its past standard of excellence.

It’s not just that modern Pixar has focused on repeating its greatest successes with a parade of sequels (“Toy Story 4”, “Incredibles 2”, “Lightyear”), or that the studio’s List of recent originals (“Soul”, “Luca”, “Blush”) has strangely focused on characters turning into animals (a revealing Trope for its diffusion in films about otherness, whose initially disparate protagonists invariably spend most of the running time covered in fur or scales ). Recently, even at Pixar, a Disney subsidiary since 2006, the mastery of execution that distinguished the Studio lacked brilliance to design high-level spaces and navigate effortlessly in their details.

“Elemental”, the recent from Disney and Pixar, is emblematic of the studio’s struggle to regain its original Magic and spoil its global construction in the service of a conventional story that lacks the Talent of the animators involved. Set in a world where natural elements- Earth, Fire, Water, Air- coexist in a New York-style metropolis, each representing different social strata, the Film aims – directed by Peter Sohn from a screenplay by John Hoberh, Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh – raised with this central metaphor, but is immediately unbalanced by its heaviness as a racial allegory, a subject that becomes so unpredictable by a random rhythm and writing that it suggests a Pixar Film written by an AI algorithm. At times, the Film borders on nonsense and feels underdeveloped rather than universal, a colorful missed opportunity.

Presented as the final selection of the 76th Cannes Film Festival, before its release in the United States in mid-June, “Elemental” envisions a densely populated urban sprawl similar to that of Disney’s anthrozoomorphic “Zootopia”, in which notions of racial discrimination have been uncomfortable reducing “predators and prey” dynamics to allow for a story that focuses more on There is an equally ill-advised simplification at work in Element City (although Sohn has stated that his Korean heritage and his desire to make a Film about Assimilation fueled some of the creative decisions), and there is even a similar eyebrow regarding the legitimate peril that these contrasting elements, like foxes to rabbits.

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