Pixar has done it again. “Onward,” the animation studio’s newest release, hits all the marks of a great family adventure. There’s heart and humor as well as the exploration of serious topics. The story takes place in a fantasy suburbia where two elf brothers go on a quest to cast a spell to bring their deceased father back to life for one day.
Tom Holland and Chris Pratt do fine with the voice acting of the two brothers, but I couldn’t help getting distracted by the sound of them talking. They certainly have chemistry, however, the two are both very well-known actors and have made a name for themselves in the Marvel cinematic universe and beyond. I personally found it very hard to separate myself from the other characters that they have played in the past.
As this is a family/children’s movie, however, I don’t see that being an issue for the target audience. Typically, kids don’t think about the technical aspects of movies and just want something that will entertain their attention for a couple of hours. “Onward” does this successfully.
The animation is great, as per usual for Pixar. I don’t think there has ever been a Pixar movie that didn’t look good. Although, there was nothing particularly special about this one and I don’t see it standing tall enough to be considered a Pixar great.
The plot is solid, and I never found myself particularly bored or disinterested. The movie does a good job of keeping the action going and making you wonder what else could go wrong with this seemingly simple journey. A common theme, but it’s one that works.
One aspect of the movie that I wish were explored more is the entire world that the characters live in. The concept of a modern-day world with fantasy creatures living in it could have been elaborated on and shown more, but I felt that it fell short. For comparison, “Zootopia” (2016) handled this concept really well.
My favorite scene in the entire film is near the end of the movie. There is so much build-up throughout the whole journey to this one moment, and you expect it to be heavy dialogue-wise due to the previous conversations between characters. Instead, the scene is shown from afar with no dialogue being spoken, and minimal score as well.
The way the scene was executed has a lasting impact and reminds the audience of the true meaning of the movie all along. It subverts the audience’s expectations and is a really heart-wrenching experience. It will likely go down as one of my favorite Pixar scenes of all time.
While this is most certainly not Pixar’s best film, see “Cars” (2006), it is definitely one that I think most families and children will enjoy. There’s plenty of humor for the young, but little to laugh at for adults. The ongoing theme of brotherhood and the bond between siblings is sure to spark some feelings in both parents and their children as well. I recommend checking this one out after all of this craziness blows over.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.