Pixar finally answers the long-awaited question: What if elements had feelings? The acclaimed studio released the first trailer for the upcoming 27th film ‘Elemental’, which will be released next year.
Directed by Peter Sohn, who directed Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” “Elemental” is set in a world where the four classic elements – fire, earth, water and air – are alive and co-existing. The two main characters, the go-with-the-flow Wade and the fiery Ember, are both young adults living in the city who run into each other and butt heads. Despite their fundamental differences, however, the two develop a connection as they realize they have deeper similarities than meets the eye.
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Sohn says studying science as a young child inspired the story. “You have the periodic table view of the elements, and I’ve always seen them as compartments. I made jokes about popping coal next to nickel, but they don’t trust each other.”
In a statement when the film was first announced in May, Sohn explained that the film’s premise was further inspired by his experiences growing up in New York as the son of Korean immigrants. “My parents immigrated from Korea in the early 1970s and built a busy grocery store in the Bronx,” Sean said. “We were among many families venturing into a new land with hopes and dreams—we were all mixing in a big salad bowl of cultures, languages, and beautiful little neighborhoods. That led me to ‘Elemental’.”
And the idea was formed, “What if water and fire fall in love?”
For Ember, Sohn examines her journey of understanding identity and this love story. “We’re trying to honor the fire, Ember and her parents. But the fire was the hardest thing because it’s all visual effects.”
Sohn’s biggest challenge was finding a balance. At first, the team went for something realistic. “It was terrifying. She had a real fire in her eyes,” says Sohn. However, going too far in the other direction made her too cartoony. “We just found that it was dictating things. The world had to have a similar caricature and brightness that could allow these characters to live in.”
As for the film’s setting, Sohn reveals that he envisioned a city with water-like infrastructure that would make it difficult. “There are trains on the water and lots of hot air balloons.”
With elements at the core of the film, Sohn teases that the production design “explores other elements, including fire effects.”
Denise Ream, who worked with Sohn on “The Good Dinosaur,” is producing the film.
“Elemental” is set to hit theaters on June 16, 2023. The film will keep Pixar in theaters after the release of “Lightyear” earlier this year. Before the “Toy Story” spinoff, three back-to-back Pixar movies — “Soul,” “Luca” and “Turning Red” — premiered on Disney+.
Watch the trailer for ‘Elemental’ below.
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