Pixar’s success is built on its original storytelling. From their Toy Story flagship franchise all the way to Turning Red, audiences around the globe have seen the human experience through fantastical stories of the life of toys, monsters, and emotions. But the studio’s latest reveal teases they are going Elemental.
Directed by Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur, Partly Cloudy short) and produced by Denise Ream (The Good Dinosaur, Cars 2), Elemental follows an unlikely pair, Ember and Wade, in a city where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together. The fiery young woman and the go-with-the-flow guy are about to discover something elemental: how much they actually have in common.
Though it’s just a tease, the plot and dynamics of Elemental is not too far off of Pixar’s string of hits when it comes to having an inanimate character-centric story. We’ve seen how toys can have a life of their own in Toy Story films and made of TV specials, what a world can be like if it was filled with living cars, and a literal emotional adventure. Now we get to see what it would be like if elements like fire, water, earth and more were alive.
While the characters may be fantastical, the story comes from a very real place. In a statement released alongside the concept art, Sohn talks about how his childhood inspired Elemental’s story. “My parents emigrated from Korea in the early 1970s and built a bustling grocery store in the Bronx,” said the director. “We were among many families who ventured to a new land with hopes and dreams — all of us mixing into one big salad bowl of cultures, languages and beautiful little neighborhoods. That’s what led me to Elemental.”
“Our story is based on the classic elements — fire, water, land and air,” Sohn continued. “Some elements mix with each other, and some don’t. What if these elements were alive?”
Opposing personalities that are visualized quite literally isn’t anything new, but it will be very interesting to see how Sohn and his team animate it for the big screen. I can’t wait to see how Sohn story of growing up amongst a immigrant community works in a film like this.
Elemental is scheduled to hit theaters on June 16, 2023.