Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ Gets Mixed Reviews

Elemental Scene
Credit: Disney

The newest animation from Pixar, Elemental (2023), debuted at Cannes Film Festival on May 27.

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When trailers for the film initially came out, many people saw the movie as a mix between Inside Out (2015) and Zootopia (2016). Now that some reviews are pouring in, it seems like they may have been right…

Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps, Zootopia

Credit: Disney

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The Reviews Are In…

Described by Variety as an “Overcomplicated Rom-Com” that’s a “bit of a misfire,” the movie had also received a five-minute standing ovation at the festival. Mixed reviews of a film are nothing new. Especially in today’s world, where it seems like so many movies are either mass-produced using a tired matrix of predictable characters, jokes, and action beats…or comes off as patronizing to the viewer by seeming to push an agenda.


Credit: Disney

At the time of the writing of this article, Elemental (2023) sits at a 64% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes from 11 critics.

Elemental Details

The film plot takes the four elements — Fire, Water, Earth, and Air — and reimagines them as uneasy neighbors in a crowded modern metropolis called Element City. The film stars Leah Lewis as Ember Lumen and Mamoudou Athie as Wade Ripple, the two main characters. It also has Ronnie del Carmen as Bernie Lumen, Shila Ommi as Cinder Lumen, Mason Wertheimer as Clod, Wendi McLendon-Covey as Gale, Catherine O’Hara as Brook Ripple, Joe Pera as Fern Grouchwood, and Matt Yang King as Alan Ripple.


Credit: Pixar

It is directed by Peter Sohn and written by Sohn, as well as Kat Likkel, John Hoberg, and Brenda Hsueh.

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The movie will have its official release date on June 16, 2023. Of course, as everyone knows, critics’ scores don’t necessarily reflect audiences’ opinions of movies. They also don’t always correlate with how much a film can make. This was the case with Lightyear (2022), which currently has a favorable review among critics and audiences yet failed to make money at the box office. On the other side of that coin is The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023), which has a low critics score of 59% but has proven to be one of the most financially successful family films in recent years.

elemental title screen

Credit: Pixar

Hopefully, Elemental (2023) can help turn things around for Disney and Pixar’s poor box office numbers. But we will see how hot (or cold) the movie is this summer.

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About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)