D: Dan Scanlon

Disney/Pixar (Kori Rae)

US 2020

102 mins


W: Dan Scanlon, Keith Bunin & Jason Headley

Mus: Mychael Danna & Jeff Danna

voices of: Tom Holland (Ian Lightfoot), Chris Pratt (Barley Lightfoot), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Laurel Lightfoot), Octavia Spencer (Corey, the Manticore), Mel Rodriguez (Colt Bronco)

Onward, Pixar’s 2020 release is set in a world of mythical creatures that have lost their magic over the course of time, depending more and more on technology and the society around them.

The main plot focuses on the relationship of two elf brothers, one of whom receives his departed father’s magic staff on his birthday and they attempt a spell that will bring their dad back for one day. However, the spell isn’t as successful as they’d hoped, bringing only his bottom half from his waist down back, setting the brothers on a quest for a magical gemstone that will complete the spell.

The brotherhood bond is very much the central theme of the film, which is fine if you have one, but if not it’s more than watchable for the quest aspect of the film. 

Personally, I found the two main characters rather boring, which didn’t help with the story’s main goal, especially since the third character is fundamentally a pair of legs.

Even though the film was a 2020 release, the plot felt like something very 1980’s and despite the fantasy world setting, it didn’t feel very fresh at all.

As with all Pixar films, the animation is first rate stuff, especially the photorealistic backgrounds and vistas, which doesn’t always marry with the mythical creatures that populate this universe. Nevertheless, younger audience members will get everything they need from this. It just isn’t in the same league as Toy Story or some of the other works from the animation studio.