Pixar is known for making some of the best digitally animated films of all time. After they were acquired by Disney in 2006, the tradition continued. It is hard to find any movie in their combined collection that could be seen as a failure. So, will their latest film, Onward, continue with this dynasty of digital delights?
Onward takes place in a world much like our own. Years ago, the world was straight from the fantasy stories of lore, where dragons, knights, fairies, wizards and other monsters ruled. Magicians were seen as beloved members of any group, helping people with their powers. Being a magician was hard and took time to master, so it is no wonder why when others were able to recreate their powers with discoveries such as electricity, vehicles and other tools, the need for magic users began to subside.
Two brothers, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt), have grown up without magic. They have all the modern conveniences that we have, here, in our world. Ian is a down-to-earth kid who is shy and timid, while Barley is more outgoing and boisterous, with a fascination for fantasy role playing games. Their father passed away before Ian was born, leaving the younger brother longing to know more about him.
On Ian’s 16th birthday, he is presented a magic staff from his mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The staff comes with a spell that will allow their father to return for one day. But the spell goes wrong and the crystal breaks after only bringing their dad back from the waist down. Barley, believing strongly that they can find a new crystal and can complete the spell, convinces Ian to go on a quest to find the gem and complete the spell.
True to the history of Disney Pixar movies, Onward hits on all the criteria for a great “family friendly” film. The storyline of two brothers trying to have just one more day with their deceased father is heartwarming. It tugs at the heart strings in some scenes, especially for people who have lost a loved one and would love to have a chance to see them again. The comedy presented in the film is a perfect mix for the audience, having jokes that kids will get, mixed in with laughs for the adults in the crowd.
Without a doubt, Onward earned a five out of five stars. With a run time 103 minutes, the film doesn’t feel too long or too short. It follows the recipe and template that Disney Pixar has found major success. Onward is a funny, fantastical romp that is heartwarming, as well as visually stunning.