Onward: A Review

Good news my quarantined friends, I know some of us were getting a little worried that we might find the end screen of our screening services. Well, it appears at least a few of the big ones have heard those concerns and are starting to move theatrical releases to digital media. Today let’s take a look at Pixar’s Onward, available now for streaming on Disney+.

Onward is a 102 minute, epic, animated adventure starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It was written and directed by Dan Scanlon; a man who has credits on The Incredibles 2Inside Out and Cars, Scanlon is no stranger to the Pixar machine. Onward focuses on an average teen boy with average concerns; he has trouble making friends, is worried about learning to drive and what life paths to take to become a good man like his late father; the only thing that really separates this hero from any other teen movie is that this particular boy is an elf. The world of Onward was once full of magic and mystery, but magic was hard and took dedication, and technology did not. With that in mind, magic slowly faded from the world, until on his 16th Birthday our hero is given a staff and a spell and offered a chance to bring his late father back for one day only.

The Good: The animation is wonderful and Pixar knows how to create the feeling of a “lived in world.” Tom Holland gives an outstanding performance as a shy teenager, and works as an excellent straight man to Chris Pratt’s bold bravado as the older brother. There is chemistry in the cast, and effort put into the story as it  takes us through a wild adventure of self-discovery for these two brothers.

The Bad: Honestly, there isn’t any bad here. I know, normally I am the first to rip into a movie, but to be fair Pixar covered their bases well and put together a solid flick.

The Meh:  If I were to knit pick, I would have to say the story lags sometimes. This is a story we have seen before, told differently I will give you, but we have all been on this emotional journey. I think on its own the movie is excellent, but when put beside other Pixar films like  Inside Out or Toy Story, the complexity of the friendships and the journeys just aren’t there. The movie is a fast-paced adventure but it could have spent some more time exploring who the characters were.

Final Thoughts: Pixar knows how to craft a movie, one that is full of high adventure, wondrous visuals and heartwarming moments. This movie is certainly worth sitting down and checking out, but I doubt it will ever be anyone’s favourite.

This movie gets three out of five rabid unicorns.


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