Peter Song’s Elemental, the twenty-seventh Pixar film, looks and feels gorgeous. It explores the relationships between the elements critical to human life, such as fire and water, which don’t mix well in reality, and finds a way to connect.

Ember Lumen (voiced by Leah Lewis) and Wade Ripple (voiced by Mamoudu Athie) are strongly developed; you genuinely believe that the budding romance between two different races is a well-kindled one. Please pardon my pun, but that’s a fire that I can’t let die.

That both characters are fearless in their willingness to explore the gifts that make them unique, without fear of how others will treat them, is a highlight of Elemental’s script by John Hoberg, Kat Likkel, and Brenda Hsueh (story by Sohn, Hoberg, Likkel, and Hsueh.)

Elemental runs into difficulties in its script. The writing team sorted out the story’s challenges while layering on new challenges. It’s as if they had an idea of where to take the story, threw those elements into a blender to see where it would all land, and realized they needed additional substance. Elemental is, at its base, style, and functionary.

Surprisingly, Elemental is far more adult in its suggestiveness than expected, a welcome element in a Pixar film. Sohn does take risks in telling such a personal story, something he had been developing since his stint with 2015’s The Good Dinosaur.

Ember, the daughter of immigrants who, because of their misunderstood nature, are forced into a small section of Element City, where they find a space to call home. It eventually becomes the Fire Town center for the fire community, away from the xenophobic views of other elements. Bernie (Ronnie del Carmen) is Ember’s father, and he wants nothing more than to see his daughter take over The Fireplace when he is ready to retire. The only trouble is that Ember has a flaring temper, which is fanned by the constant barrage of customer demands; Ember has no patience.

On the verge of Ember’s taking over the shop, a water leak forms in the basement draws Wade Ripple in, a city inspector who realizes that Element City hadn’t appropriately permitted the work Bernie did to the space. Ember takes it upon herself to fix the issue with Wade’s help. Working together, Ember and Wade solve the problem, discovering a unique talent that Ember harbors.

What follows is a blossoming relationship that works naturally, even between two elements that cancel each other out; water snuffing out fire and fire boiling water. Those aren’t spoilers, though they could be construed that way, only if it is the natural order of how elements work together.

Hindering the relationship, though, is the xenophobic nature of how each element views the other. I’m glad they didn’t bring oil in because that wouldn’t mix well with either water or fire. I jest, but not really. There is a slippery slope that Elemental contends with, bringing the elements together in a way we’ve seen before in other Pixar stories, and the trend grows tiresome.

What is not tiresome is the immigrant experience, how we treat people immigrating from other countries to the United States, a land forged through the immigrant experience and, unfortunately, the displacement of native citizens, which is why it is a unique experience to see two, similarly themed films opening up on the same weekend, Pixar’s Elementals and A24’s Past Lives, both romantic movies at their hearts and with all of the ensuing drama that goes with a romance.

Two highlights beyond the leading voice cast that raise Elemental‘s bar are the cinematography from Davis Bianchi and Jean-Claude Kalache. Pixar’s animation has gotten to a point (or Marvel films have gotten to a point) where CGI environments are so photo-real that it is beginning to get more difficult o discern between a natural person against a green screen and a completely virtual world, where the virtualized characters look as natural as the human against the green screen.

The second element that raises Elemental’s bar is Thomas Newman’s score. His work here continues a tradition of grand film scores, heightening the emotional impact.

Neither of these two aspects of Elemental is enough to elevate the Pixar film to the status of their earlier work. There is enough for the entire family, which is what Disney is going for. However, the story dampens the film’s fire, so I can’t recommend the movie entirely.