Ready for some new Pixar whimsy? Because the new teaser trailer for “Elemental” is here.
The brief clip released Thursday introduces audiences to Element City, a sprawling modern metropolis “where fire-, water-, land- and air-residents live together,” according to the Disney and Pixar release’s official synopsis.
In the trailer, we watch on as a fire-resident named Ember (Leah Lewis) walks through Element City’s version of a subway – a series of interconnected boats traveling along a water-filled trough. As she walks through the train cars, there are a bunch of very good gags – a water person sneezes on a land person’s head and it sprouts grass in the fashion of a cool hair doo, etc. At the very end of the clip, she drops her headphones and goes to pick them up. That’s when she meets Wade (Mamoudou Athie), a water fellow. Then we get the tag line: “Opposites react.”
When director Peter Sohn (“The Good Dinosaur”) introduced the film at this year’s D23 Expo, he said that it was inspired by his upbringing, the son of two immigrant parents who operated a local grocery store. He wanted to make a movie about how, deep down, we are all really the same. And the footage that they previewed (including more gorgeous shots of that “train”) were really impressive – technologically and artistically, “Elemental” seems to really be pushing some boundaries.
The anthropomorphic elements of the trailer do feel a tad familiar, as Pixar has set previous movies inside a child’s mind (the emotions are alive!), a city full of monsters (the monster’s are alive!), a plane full of souls (the souls are alive!) and a universe where automobiles rule (the cars are alive!) Plus the mismatched romantic comedy trope has played out in a series of Pixar short films (“The Blue Umbrella,” “Lava,” “Knick Knack”).
But if Pixar has a knack for anything, it’s taking something familiar, even something from their own catalog, and making it feel fresh and new. So even if it looks like you might have seen it before, “Elemental” will undoubtedly dazzle in unexpected ways.
“Elemental” hits theaters on June 16, 2023.