“Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.” –IMDB
Pixar, Pixar, Pixar. You egomaniacal bastards. Let me clarify…
What I’m saying is, they are sadists who love to make you cry like a little tiny baby child. If you haven’t watched the Pixar short Wind yet: 1) you obviously have enough time these days and 2) if you need a good cry during these seemingly end-of-times, I highly suggest you do. Poor Mike put it on for me randomly one night as he was leaving the house and ended up having to leave late, as I was literally sobbing in the fetal position within SECONDS of it starting. See, Pixar used to wait to break your heart. You had to wait for the sobs to come until the midway through Toy Story 2 or at the end of Monster’s Inc. But starting with Finding Nemo and Up, Pixar decided to get you right out of the gate.
With that being said, Onward opens with two important pieces of background information. First, the world we are about to see used to be filled with magic and mythical creatures (cue what I’m sure is dozens of literary and film references in the movie, from Indiana Jones to Lord of the Rings). Second, the family whose journey we are about to see experienced a great loss when the protagonist was an infant.
We then meet Ian Lightfoot, Tom Holland playing basically Spiderman with maybe even less swag, and Barley Lightfoot, Chris Pratty playing (as both Mike and I said to each other simultaneously) basically Jack Black in Orange County. The first thirty minutes of the movie are a bit slow going, there aren’t too many big laughs and an odd premise is introduced: temporarily bringing back to life the family member who was lost. I had a tough time with this plot line because I’m not sure children who have lost a family member should be exposed to the idea that a lost love one can be brought back.
However, once that plotline begins, the movie does takes off and find its footing. It has more adventure, more laughs, and of course LOTS of tears. Different family relationships are explored and celebrated, as is self-belief. Again, it’s Pixar, they know what they are doing and they know how to play every single string in your heart, to the point where I hope they’re careful. I thought Inside Out was a little much for kids and even my niece and nephew weren’t too interested in the storyline, as it seemed to be much more aimed at adults. While it’s not a Toy Story, Finding Nemo, or even Monster’s Inc., Onward did end up being an enjoyable watch and one that I thought was pretty well-balanced for both kids and adults. Just remember the Kleenex!
Rating: 7 out of 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also see: I mean, it’s Pixar, you know what you should watch…
With: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer
Directed By: Dan Scanlon