There used to be a running joke that Pixar had never made a bad movie. Maybe that’s still true to some extent, but whereas the average quality level of its films used to be incredible, it’s probably evened out to just good. (It doesn’t help that Disney had undermined the value of some of its own movies like Turning Red by releasing them straight to streaming in lieu of a theatrical release.) Will Elemental, its newest animated film, turn out to be a classic Pixar movie, or are we going to continue on in the realm of average? The new Elemental trailer makes it seem like it’s possibly going to be the former.
While the movie’s premise that the different elements all are living feels kind of tropey, this is the studio that literally made characters out of emotions and turned it into one of the best films about growing up ever — so we probably shouldn’t judge of that. The story follows Ember (Leah Lewis), whose family doesn’t like to mix with other elements. However, she meets a water guy named Wade (Mamoudou Athie) and begins to broaden her horizons. The story is ripe for the kind of heart-wrenching emotion that Pixar can deliver, but the studio will have to work hard to overcome how cliche it sounds. There’s plenty of Pixar humor running throughout the trailer as well, and this might be one of the most stunning films it’s made.
Elemental also features the voice acting of Ronnie del Carmen as Ember’s soon-to-be retired dad, Bernie; Shila Ommi as Ember’s love-seeking mom, Cinder; Wendi McLendon-Covey as Wade’s stormy and Air-Ball-loving boss, Gale; Catherine O’Hara as Wade’s welcoming mom, Brook; Mason Wertheimer as Ember’s admiring earth neighbor, Clod; and Joe Pera as an overgrown city bureaucrat, Fern. It’s directed by Pixar stalwart Peter Sohn, who previously directed the visually stunning and somewhat underrated The Good Dinosaur for the studio. Whether or not he’ll be able to make a true Pixar classic this time remains to be seen.
As the new trailer notes, Elemental will release in theaters on June 16, also available to watch in 3D.