Onward Review

Pixar has won a plethora of awards and stolen a multitude of hearts through their ground-breaking visuals and diverse storytelling. Yet in the wake of this pandemic, their latest movie Onward has been fast tracked to digital release and streaming for Disney Plus. Could this be a reflection on the quality of Pixar’s newest tale?

Onward follows the tale of two brave brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Prat) who go on a quest to complete a spell so they can once again see their dad. To do this, the pair must rely on each other’s skill and knowledge to pull from history a magic that has long since been forgotten.

In true Pixar fashion, Onward delivers remarkably beautiful visuals from flashes its magic to its rabid unicorns. And it’s these remarkable visuals that we’ve come to expect from Disney and Pixar. What the bigger question is, however, is if they managed to create their trademark, unique world with impeccable character development?

The simple answer is Yes. Yes they have.

There are many occasions where I feel movies can force a conflict and then solve that conflict with something that is just as empty. But the conflict that Ian and Barley face is real and so is their relationship.

The brotherly bond is the central focus of this movie paired with the emotional weight that stems from the dad’s passing. More importantly, when the pair inevitably meet their toughest moments, it’s drawn from very real emotions and heart ache.

But it’s the moments where an ultimate sacrifice is made that truly makes or breaks a movie. And this story really brings a might blow to the audiences’ heart.

You can really see the care and heart that director Dan Scanlon has put into the story and world building. His personal investment went through the writers, the animaters, and the voice actors to create a beautiful brotherly bond that should be celebrated as much as the sisterhood from Frozen.

Beyond the brothers, Scanlon has managed to create a story that also celebrates heritage. It’s an underlying theme, but this world (as fantastical as it is) has fictional creatures opting for easier options like electricity over magic.

It doesn’t distinctly say that electricity is bad, but it does highlight the importance of cultural gifts. In the case of these fictional creatures, they’ve forgotten how to gallop and fly. I see this as a subtle reminder to value our ancestry and find a place for it in the present.

They also have their distinct Pixar humour and Easter eggs, so keep an eye out for those!

When you wrap it all up, I loved this movie, but I don’t think it’ll get the acclaim of other Pixar originals (which will be a crime!). At the very least, it’s going to warm a lot of hearts.

So, my friends, Onward has earnt itself an 8/10.

You can catch the digital release of Onward from April 2.

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