Director: Peter Sohn
Featured voices: Leah Lewis, Mamoudou Athie, Ronnie del Carmen, Shila Omni
Shades of ‘Zootropolis’ in Pixar’s latest, a romantic comedy meets immigrant tale set in a teeming city where different anthropomorphic elements must muck along. Husband and wife fire elements Bernie (del Carmen) and Cinder (Omni) are immigrants to Element City, which is populated by air, fire, water, earth. The fire elements are looked down upon by the other elements and the family frequently encounter prejudice. The fiercely proud and traditional Bernie runs a small shop, the Fireplace. His daughter, the hot-tempered Ember (Lewis), is set to inherit the family business, but dreams of making her own way. During one of her fiery outbursts a water pipe is broken resulting in the shop being flooded. This summons the goofy, amiable health inspector, Wade Ripple (Athie) to investigate. He sets off to report the violation with Ember racing after him. As the two spend time together, a romance develops, despite the steamy impracticalities. The script is a bit narratively baggy and unfocused, but the film’s treatment of prejudice and the challenges of assimilation are sensitively handled. This being Pixar, the bustling Element City is gorgeously realised in meticulous detail, and the characters are appealing, particularly the emotionally intelligent, empathetic and curious Wade.
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