Everything Wrong With Disney’s ‘Elemental’ (2023)

Written by Daniel Nkado

PLEASE NOTE that opinions expressed in short movie reviews like this posted on DNB Stories are personal and solely the writer’s. Do not be confused with the title, not all reviews are bad! Fair warning: This article may contain spoilers!!!

In this 2023 Disney/Pixar animation, four elements fire, water, air and earth live among themselves in a big city called Element City. The film is supposed to teach about peaceful coexistence and tolerance of one another despite individual differences.

To be honest, I really liked the concept and the intended message but the delivery of this plot didn’t fly for me. Disney is good. I love Disney. We have seen the company give personalities to animals and inanimate objects and these characters evoked genuine emotion in us but in “Elemental” this sort of failed for me.

Maybe it would have been better if the elements were used as talents or a way of life (culture) instead of being the personalities themselves. I mean, if I wrote this story that’s what I’m going to do. A living burst of flame or a pool of water didn’t make much sense to me and I struggled to connect with Elemental characters.

I mean the girl is literally FIRE (from head to toe) and the guy is WATER…what will fire poop? The fire people were eating kol-nuts (basically burnt fire sticks) and feeding lighter fluid to their kids…lol. The water people are flowing pools of H20 that somehow manage to stay in shape (sometimes). I took Chemistry classes too seriously not to find the idea of humanifying these elements and making them cohabit funny. I understand the story is meant for kids but there have been many Disney and Pixar projects I have enjoyed as an adult. “Toy Story,” “Ratatouille,” “Inside Out”, etc.

In my opinion, Disney already did an excellent job making a movie that teaches about tolerance and non-discrimination in its 2016 project “Zootopia”. And Elemental is everything Zootopia is not!

Not everything is wrong about Elemental though. The concept is fresh (concept, not the idea) and progressive (there is even an LGBT-element couple, lol), just a little bit too aspirational for me, or poorly executed – either one or a mix of the two. The soundtrack is great though. Trust Disney to always come through with the soundtrack. The song “Steal The Show” performed by Lauv has already climbed into my list of top Disney songs. Such a good listen.

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