Pixar Slammed For Lack of Representation

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Two hands from Pixar's Elemental

Credit: Disney

Elemental is Pixar’s newest project, and reviews are already mixed in just weeks before its official release. An obvious allegory for racism, cultural conflict, and interracial relationships, the film is clearly the studio’s answer to Disney’s Zootopia. Comparisons aside, some are already claiming that Pixar is missing the mark when it comes to telling a story like this.

Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental” Wade (R) Ember (L)
Credit: Disney Pixar

While the use of elements like earth, wind, fire, and water is certainly a creative and visually impressive approach, some who have seen previews of the film are calling Pixar out for telling an immigration allegory with a severe lack of immigrant actors and voices.

Elements Lacking in Pixar’s Elemental

@thestorytimeguy

From the director of the good dinosaur and producer of cars 2… LOL#greenscreen

♬ original sound – Matthew Torres

Matthew Torres is a TikTok personality with several good takes on Disney’s projects, but his recent video on Pixar’s latest project brings some seriously poignant points to the table. We’ve compared Elemental to Zootopia before, but Torres shares how Pixar’s approach could have improved and expanded on the framework Nick and Judy left behind, they just didn’t.

Related: Disney Confirms Opening Date of New Pixar Musical

Speaking on behalf of the Latino community, Torres elaborates how Pixar was presented with the perfect opportunity to tell an immigrant’s story with an immigrant’s point of view in light of recent events, but they chose to take a more Eurocentric approach to what (in Torres’ opinion) needed to be a Latino or Hispanic perspective.

Torres ends the video saying,

“Can studios please stop hiring white people to talk about racism?”

On one hand, Torres is right in the sense that Pixar’s Elemental could have very much benefited from a Latino or Hispanic perspective. However, things make much more sense when viewers consider who is actually telling the story.

Peter Sohn with Elemental Characters
Credit: Inside the Magic

Peter Sohn is a Pixar Regular and the director of Elemental. However, he’s also the son of Korean immigrants who found a life in New York City. Sohn has expressed that the upcoming film is his way of sharing their story in an animated medium.

Related: Tim Allen Gives Major ‘Toy Story’ Update as Disney Cancels Film

Yes, Elemental could have handled diversity from another perspective, but it would have lost the personal touch from a director who has seen the effects of cultural elements colliding. Torres states in the video above that the flame elementals have an Asian-inspired flavor, which makes much more sense when viewers consider the director’s Korean heritage. So, does Elemental really lack immigrant representation, or does it only lack one type of story?

Does Pixar’s latest film deserve the backlash? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!

 

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