“Onward” is heartfelt and original but isn’t Pixar’s best work.
Pixar is known for creating content that is notorious for tugging at the heartstrings of its viewers. At first glance, Onward, might come off as just as touching and charming as some of Pixar’s greatest works such as Inside Out or Coco but I’m here to inform you that although it might seem like that on the outside.. this movie is not anything like either of those.
I will give props to the casting team because the whole cast is spot on. Tom Holland plays a teenage elf that is desperately longing to be more like his late father and Chris Pratt plays the exact opposite of Holland’s character in the role of a punk rock loving, board game playing elf. It’s also quite apparent that the work that these two have done together previously with Marvel has helped in creating great chemistry between the two because they were undoubtedly enjoying every minute of this film. I love when I can tell that the actors, even voice actors, have a blast with their roles and every actor cast in this film does exactly that. Octavia Spencer is really enjoyable as The Manticore but I feel like we did not get near enough screen time as she needed. She has a great relationship with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s character, who is also great in her return to Pixar. The casting is one of the more solid aspects of this film so I have no complaints there!
One good thing to note about this movie is Pixar’s return to original storytelling. Sure, the fantasy world thing has been done before but this particular story is very unique to Onward. I love that from now on Pixar is sticking to original stories and not just pumping out sequels (partly because I’m super happy that nobody can touch Inside Out.) I think the story is interesting at best but also very bizarre at the same time. The script is corny and while the plot might be mostly original ideas it can be predictable at times. I don’t criticize this movie because I want to hate it. I criticize this movie because Pixar is known for its innovative storytelling and I think this is sub-par. There are a few notable elements that made me laugh but more often than not I felt like the jokes didn’t deliver or only warranted laughs from kids.. which is totally fine but they should be writing for their parents as well if Pixar wants to be considered entertainment for all.
One very important aspect of Onward’s storytelling is its ability to portray a relationship between brothers. This relationship while silly at times is mostly very relatable and down to earth. As a brother myself it made me look out the relationship with my own brother and understand those situations those brothers were in together. It was definitely a brotherhood that I could look up to.
Onward is mostly an okay movie. I did enjoy it so don’t get me wrong but I’ve seen multiple people praising this one as Pixar’s newest “classic” and it could not be more far from that. The casting is perfect, the animation is gorgeous, the story is very original, but the delivery is less than what we’re used to with Pixar. Also, don’t let the controversies steer you away from this movie. It’s a great one for the kids. Especially those with brothers.