From animation giants, Disney and Pixar and the director of Monster’s University, Dan Scanlon, comes their latest original family film, Onward. In a fantasy world that has long since lost its magic, two brothers embark on a quest for a magical phoenix stone that could help them cast a spell to temporarily bring their father back from the dead. Although this film will be forgotten amongst Disney and Pixar’s outstanding catalogue, Onward still has a strong emotional core that maintains from start to finish.
Onward’s premise sounds like the perfect set up to deliver a profound message from, however the films execution is far too narrow minded for it to flourish. A magical fantasy land that lost touch of its magic and resorted to easier methods resulting in its suburbanization is an intriguing set up for politically changed narrative, however that is really where the films political stance both begins and ends. Onward is effectively a fantasy film that makes the cardinal sin of forgetting its own lore and is pretty much a more forgettable version of Zootopia, a film that was able to deliver on the politically charged set up it had.
Added to this, the film could have created some interesting characters, however you’re kind of left feeling that the actors most of that themselves. Tom Holland plays his awkward teen typecast whilst; Chris Pratt plays his overly confident dumbass typecast. Not that their performances aren’t good, they just aren’t given well rounded characters and their typecasts are just painfully unoriginal at this point.
This all being said, the film may not have created the next Buzz and Woody or even the next Elsa and Anna, but it has nonetheless, created investing character relationships. The film does have a fundamental redeeming quality, and that is the heart running throughout the core of its story. The film’s motifs around family bonding and activities surrounding growing up such as; learning to drive are quite accurate and surprisingly profound. Better than Monsters University, Brave and the dreaded Cars 2, but nowhere near as good as; Inside Out, The Incredibles or Monsters Inc. Onward is a heartfelt family story, albeit one that will surely be forgotten as days go by.