Onward: Not ‘Pixar Quality’

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During the week of spring break, I was able to see The Way Back, a decent sports drama starring Ben Affleck, with my intentions of seeing the new Pixar film Onward that weekend. Let’s just say my plans changed as I accidentally attended the movie theatre’s last showing before it was announced that it would be closing. That weekend, it was announced Onward would be pushed for a digital purchase release, with it coming to Disney+ April 3rd. When I watched it, I was greeted to a wonderfully crafted world, like all Pixar films do, but weighed down by its terribly ok performances.

Onward stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as brothers off on a quest to bring their dad back for one day, as Holland’s character had never met him. The world around them, once filmed magic, wonder, and adventure is now more comparable to one like ours. For the most part, the world of Onward is nicely built, you end up wanting to see more of the ancient architecture, and the D&D inspired dungeons. Everything else is extremely basic to the interesting world set up by the intro. Basic is also the term I would use to say how Holland and Pratt are in these films.

Both are arguably playing roles they have before, Holland being an awkward and intentionally relatable kid like in his role as Spider-Man, and Pratt being the overconfident goofball that he’s been in Parks and Recreation.

Neither of them reaches a complexity or emotional connection with the audience as well as previous Pixar films.”

— Tanner Bass

Neither of them reaches a complexity or emotional connection with the audience as well as previous Pixar films. It only a problem as if I was able to completely emotionally connect with a robot in WALL-E, it should be no problem for them to make me care the slightest bit about them, but I just didn’t. Pratt isn’t too terribly funny unlike his performance in The Lego Movie, but maybe it’s because of lackluster writing.

This film was weird, as it was what I think one of three times a movie wasn’t “Pixar Quality,” lacking the tackling of heavy themes in an effective way. The handling of its central message was botched and anticlimatic, to say the least. It’s not bad, just with the standard set by the pioneers of 3d computer animation, it feels more of a film by Disney themselves, like Zootopia or Big Hero 6. For what it was, I was entertained on a surface level, enjoyed the world built, and was left satisfied with what I watched. If you have Disney+, give it a watch if you have a couple of hours. 6.5/10