Directed By Dan Scanlon
When the folks over at Pixar really put their mind to creating something unique and original rather than creating boundless sequels that piggyback off the success of earlier films, it can be pretty magical. Onward is a great example of Pixar really putting a lot of care into their projects and treating an animated kid’s outing like it’s an actual film rather than a digestible piece of distracting content for the youngsters. The movie focuses more on its deep and meaningful characters and the relationships they carry than it does on the ever-looming macguffin quest taking place in the background, and that focus makes for an incredibly powerful third act and ending. While I do love that Dan Scanlon decided to employ some advanced screenwriting skills, it does ultimately lead to a heavier conclusion that I think a younger audience may not like or understand, but from a character standpoint, it’s the best way to conclude. Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all give fantastic vocal performances, however Disney powerhouse Chris Pratt leans too heavily towards the cartoony aspect which can from time to time take away from the distancing tones of the film. Overall, Onward is an absolute blast, has unsurprisingly fantastic visuals and an ending that will rip your heart out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I’m not sure I would consider this a top-tier Pixar, but it does nearly earn it by the end. What starts out as a very dull animated movie about going on a point to point quest, much like a real boring game of Dungeons and Dragons. Fortunately the relationship arc is so full of life under the mediocre presentation. Regardless of that, it is a fun looking movie seeing all the strange fantasy creatures. In proper Pixar style it absolutely hits you on every feels possible whether or not you have siblings, a death in your family, or a parent yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆