Disney and Pixar's Elemental has been in theaters since June 16th and I've constantly heard how "bad" it is doing in the box office and my first thought was, it must not be very good, I'll wait until it hits Disney+ to check it out. Well, a few days ago for an outing with their grandfather, we took my kids to see Elemental and... I've got some BIG feelings.
Disney & Pixar's Elemental | Hot Takes From a Paying Parent
I often review family movies and children's shows and get early access to do so, this is not the case here. We paid for our tickets to see this film in theaters because my kids had seen commercials and built up a small collection of themed toys from McDonalds.
This isn't my typical review post, I just felt compelled to share my honest thoughts and maybe a hot take or two as I try to understand why this film isn't being hailed as the family movie of the summer.
Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Elemental wouldn't exist.
Elemental | "Bad" Box Office Numbers, But Why?
I won't make you wait for it for my thoughts, I LOVED this movie.
Elemental is quintessential Pixar. The animation is beyond fantastic, the story is strong and the characters have depth.
So what's the deal with the "bad" box office numbers?
UPDATE 7/22/23: As of July 20, 2023 the film surpassed $300 million world wide. This movie seems to have had some staying power yet still is being viewed as underperforming.
Related: Disney Pixar's Turning Red | No-Spoilers Movie Review
Elemental | This Fantastic Movie Lacks Star Power
I'll be honest, after reading the end credits, I had no idea who anyone was. In fact, I only recognized one name in the cast - Catherine O'Hara and she was not a leading role.
Now, if you think back to other Disney and Pixar films there is a laundry list of household names behind the main characters; Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, Amy Polar and so on.
Could the problem be that there was no big name front and center?
No disrespect to Mrs. O'Hara, I love her, I adore her even, but I had NO idea she was even in this movie!
Elemental | Takes on Real Issues
Elemental is a fun adventure between our two main characters who both open up about family matters; one having regrets and the other on a path that may lead to regrets.
This movie put a spotlight on what it is like to immigrate to a new country, and leaving your family and friends behind.
Fire and Water are obvious metaphors as the film depicts racism without ever saying the word.
I think Elemental did a phenomenal job at illustrating how important it is to learn and embrace our differences. We even see elder characters learn new ways and become accepting, which I think is huge!
In Elemental we see characters in peril, we tackle the topic of having a parent pass away and we watch one become sicker with time.
Related: Super Mario Bros. Movie | No-Spoiler Movie Review
Elemental | Final Thoughts
It wouldn't be a Disney Pixar film if I didn't cry. I'll just leave it at that.
The story is simple and beautiful. The lessons are clear yet not preachy. Everything flows very nicely and brings you to an ending with a big red bow on top.
Elemental has the adventure of Toy Story, the emotions of Inside Out and breaking from family traditions akin to Turning Red.
This movie is rated PG but it is a very tame PG. I actually assumed it was G until I looked it up ahead of writing this post.
My hottest take? Watch Elemental either in theaters, if it is still in one near you or as soon as it hits Disney+.