Pixar has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, ranging from the backlash against Disney’s silence on the Parental Rights in Education bill (known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill) to the censorship of same-sex relationships in its projects. These discussions have also extended to some of Pixar’s upcoming projects including the highly anticipated Lightyear.
While fans are waiting for the Toy Story prequel, Pixar have announced a brand new project for 2023 titled Elemental. As the title suggests, the film imagines the four elements – earth, air, fire and water – as sentient beings and explore their feelings. Elemental will feature these four as characters who are fully alive.
Director Peter Sohn explained: “My parents emigrated from Korea in the early 1970s and built a bustling grocery store in the Bronx. We were among many families who ventured to a new land with hopes and dreams – all of us mixing into one big salad bowl of cultures, languages and beautiful little neighbourhoods. That’s what led me to Elemental.”
Commenting on the subtextual theme of Elemental and its exploration of subjects such as race and cultural frameworks, Sohn laid out the basic question that Elemental asks: “Our story is based on the classic elements – fire, water, land and air. Some elements mix with each other, and some don’t. What if these elements were alive?”
Peter Sohn’s experiences as an immigrant will dictate the journey that the film embarks on, just like another recent Pixar project. Titled Turning Red, the popular new film was also based on the director Domee Shi’s experiences as a Chinese girl growing up in Toronto which signifies that Pixar is highlighting stories surrounding the immigrant experience.