Elemental might not be Pixar’s best film, or even belong in a serious conversation about their Top 10 best movies. But it’s earned its reputation as an affable underdog since releasing in June to the very dire count of $29.6 million but steadily hanging on at the box office to pull in nearly $500 million worldwide, thanks to good word of mouth.
Sure, the movie’s world of segregated elements doesn’t feel as fresh as the mythology of something like Monster’s Inc. or even the beguiling afterlife of Soul. And yes, the movie is essentially a simple romantic comedy dressed up as Zootopia for Naturally Occurring Stuff Outside.
But the movie has pep, solid humor, and animation that’s refreshingly liberated from the boundaries of solid lines. There’s a reason Elemental didn’t crash and burn like everyone thought it would: Sometimes you just need to look past the surface of things.
How long is Elemental?
Elemental is officially listed as running 1 hour and 42 minutes, which is blissfully short compared to most of this year’s summer releases. If you tried to watch Across the Spider-Verse, Oppenheimer, and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 in the same day, you’d only have time left to eat a meal and go to bed.
But Elemental is a perfect length for little ones, and for adults nostalgic for the shorter runtimes of yore. The film moves at a pretty brisk pace as well, so nobody should be tempted to check their phones or calculate how old they’ll be by the time the seventh post-credit sequence rolls around. (Don’t worry — Elemental isn’t part of an extended universe either, so it doesn’t have to waste narrative real estate setting up spinoffs like other Disney franchises do.)
The film is currently available to stream on Disney Plus for free, as long as you’re a subscriber who pays their $7.99 to the Mouse House each month. In addition, Elemental will be available to buy on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD starting Sept. 26.