INSIDE Out meets Zootopia in Elemental, the latest from Disney Pixar. Where the former film personified emotions, this new offering humanises the elements: fire, water, air and earth.

As did the animals and foxes of Zootopia, these elements occupy their own vast, gorgeously animated, metropolis. While Elemental hits the highs of neither 'toon, it remains another solid hit from the makers of Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc.

The story is your classic Romeo and Juliet. Rising stars Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie voice star-crossed lovers Ember and Wade.

As the names suggest, she’s a fire being, he’s a walking water feature. It’s a relationship that simply cannot be. He could douse her, she could evaporate him. That’s even before one considers the transparent race metaphor.

Ember, you see, is of migrant stock. She’s the daughter of Bernie and Cinder Lumin, whose immigration into Element City opens the film. In the face of extreme xenophobia, the Lumins open a convenience store - “The Fireplace” - and cultivate a life on the periphery.

While Bernie intends for Ember to one day inherit the store, she must first learn to better manage her fiery temper. It’s this that leads Ember to Wade. Or, rather, it is a burst of rage that sees Ember rupture a basement pipe and thereby summon Wade, who just happens to be Element City’s building inspector. He knows his waterworks.

There’s plenty of fun to be in the haphazard courtship that follows. A largely predictable narrative flow sees Ember and Wade’s initial squabbles ease into greater understanding through the challenges for which they must unite to overcome. It’s a lovely twist too that reveals the beauty of what two elements can create when they touch.

Without the emotional complexity of Pixar’s erstwhile triumphs, Elemental shoots and scores for a somewhat younger audience. This is not to say that adults too cannot bask in the film’s artistic flair and vibrant use of colour. A hand-drawn interlude is one particular highlight, while an underwater garden sequence dazzles.

Pixar have struggled since the easing of pandemic restrictions to lure audiences back to cinemas. The instant availability of their more recent offerings on Disney+ is widely blamed. If nothing else, Elemental serves up a convincing argument that such films are, indeed, better experienced on the big screen. It’s hard to disagree.