Pixar is finally answering the long-awaited question: What if elements had feelings? The prestigious studio has released the first trailer for the upcoming 27th feature “Elemental,” which is due for release next year.
Directed by Peter Sohn, who helmed Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” “Elemental” is set in a world where the four classic elements—fire, earth, water, and air—live and coexist. The two main characters, go-with-the-flow Wade and fiery Ember, are young adults in the city who turn on each other and butt heads. Despite their fundamental differences, however, the two develop a bond as they realize that they share deeper similarities than meets the eye.
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Sohn says that studying science as a young child inspired the story. “You get the view of the periodic table of the elements, and I’ve always seen them as flats. I joked about popping carbon 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 premise of the film was further inspired by his experiences growing up in New York City as the son of Korean immigrants. “My parents emigrated from Korea in the early 1970s and built a bustling grocery store in the Bronx,” Sohn said. “We were among many families who went to a new country 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’.”
And the thought came, “What if water and fire fell in love?”
For Ember, Sohn explores her journey to understand identity and this love story. “We’re trying to honor Fire, Ember and her parents. But fire was the hardest because it’s all about visual effects.”
Sohn’s biggest challenge was finding a balance. At first, the team went for something realistic. “She was scary. She had a real fire in her eyes,” says Sohn. However, too much in the other direction made her too cartoonish. “When we found out that things were dictated. The world needed a caricature and a brightness similar to it that could allow these characters to live in it.”
Regarding the location of the film, Sohn reveals that he envisioned a city with water-like infrastructure that would make it difficult. “There are trains on water and lots of air balloons.”
With features at the heart of the film, Sohn hopes the production design “looks at other elements including fire effects.”
Denise Ream, who worked with Sohn on “The Good Dinosaur,” is producing the film.
“Elemental” is set to be released in theaters on June 16, 2023. The Pixar film will keep in theaters after the release of “Lightyear” earlier this year. Before the spinoff to “Toy Story,” three Pixar films in a row — “Soul,” “Luca” and “Turning Red” — premiered on Disney+.
Watch the “Elemental” trailer below.
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