Pixar’s brand new animation Onward was recently released straight onto Disney+ in NZ, never reaching the cinemas in many countries outside the US due to the pandemic. Over the last ten years the studio has taken advantage of the good will and legacy built from their earlier work. Although there have been inspired originals like Inside Out and Coco, they’ve also pumped out many prequels and sequels, some great (Toy Story 4), some so-so (Incredibles 2). Whenever it is announced that the studio is working on something new, I get very excited to explore whatever new world they present to me.
Like I expected going in, Onward made me cry. I’m a sucker for family stuff, and this film pulls at those heartstrings with the expert precision one would want from Pixar. There are some surprising plot choices, especially in the resolution of the film, where the heart of the filmmakers clearly shines through. As usual, the animation is beautiful and the funniest moments of the film definitely come from the visual gags. However, the lead characters are extremely familiar and the voice acting and dialogue feels pretty well-worn. I mean, Tom Holland’s character, Ian, looks like a blue version of his character in Spies In Disguise.
As much as I love the fantasy realm aesthetic, I also feel like I’ve seen similar, more creative, interpretations by artists on Tumblr and Twitter. These issues don’t make the movie bad, but they stop the film from joining the list of top tier Pixar classics. Unfortunately, the studio has set the bar pretty high for themselves.
7/10: What if elves had feelings?