Onward Review


Pixar’s films have always tapped into the emotional side of audiences all over the world. Whether it’s making people feel for inanimate toys or making audiences cry in just 15 minutes, Pixar knows how to connect with people. Their next film, Onward, is set to be in the same vein as other Pixar classics. Does Onward continue with the tradition of Pixar’s excellence or does it end up being one of their rare missteps?

It may not be perfect but Onward taps into a personal journey that sets it apart from their other films. Get your tissues ready because tears will definitely be shed.

Onward follows Ian Lightfoot, an elf that has never known his father. But on his 16th birthday, he finds out that his father left a gift for both him and his brother, Barley. Little do they know that this gift leads them on a magical journey to bring their father back for a short time.

Onward - Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, and Octavia Spencer

Although Pixar prides itself on a plethora of original ideas, Onward takes a lot of inspiration from so many genre films. That’s not a bad thing at all considering what film it takes inspiration from. Onward is one part Lord of the Rings, one part Weekend at Bernie’s, another part National Treasure, and a little bit of Indiana Jones thrown in as well. This mixture incorporates some of the best parts of each franchise quite nicely.

Yet the film contains a realistic look at families after the death of a close family member. The film also feels as if it’s Pixar’s most personal film yet. The film exudes a personal touch from the filmmakers. Not to mention, it feels as if there’s a lot of tender, love, and care that went into the story of the film as well. However, the film doesn’t quite have that Pixar perfection that comes with their other instant classics.

The film begins on shaky ground. It takes some time to establish the story and characters before everything settles down. When it settles down, the movie becomes a sweet and emotional story that pulls on the heartstrings at many moments.

The story also doesn’t follow the stereotypical story beats of films similar to this film. Unlike what the promos are leading you to believe, the movie is not about the return of the father. Instead, it’s a journey about the brothers. Believe it or not, what Frozen does for sisterhood, Onward does for brotherhood. If you have a brother that you’re close with, this is a film that you go see with him.

Onward - Tom Holland and Chris Pratt

But their character arcs follow tropes that you’ve seen in other films before. The characters themselves display the stereotypical weakling and lovable oaf characteristics. Characteristics that they predictably overcome through the course of the film.

Luckily, Chris Pratt and Tom Holland have worked together before on the Avengers films. Their chemistry is what drives the film. It truly feels like an older and little brother relationship. At the same time, after a while, you forget that it’s Pratt and Holland voicing Ian and Barley.

Not to be outdone is Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer. Both actresses create supporting characters that are as fun and entertaining as the brothers themselves. Each character has their time to shine, but it’s Octavia Spencer’s Manticore that brings a ton of entertainment. She has several moments in the film that steals the show.

Overall, Onward is a fantastic emotional tale of family and brotherhood. If you’ve ever lost a parent that you’re close with or you’ve never known that parent, this film will hit you like a Mack truck. Director Dan Scanlon taps into a lot of personal experiences that, in turn, let us tap into our personal experiences. It’s not a perfect film, but it doesn’t have to be. Life’s not perfect, and Onward represents life perfectly… Just with more rabid unicorns and biker gang pixies.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

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