In the picture

April 12, 2020

Onward is a touching animated outing.


Staring(voices):Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer

Directed by: Dan Scanlon

Pixar may not have been at its creative best for much of the last decade but the animation powerhouse has, nonetheless, consistently released charming adventures that have never failed to entertain. Likewise, its latest offering, Onward, may pale in comparison to the studio’s celebrated classics, but it still takes viewers on a touching journey.

Onward is set in a suburban world inhabited by mythical creatures but now bereft of the enchantment that was once commonplace, the magic having since been superseded by technology.

At the center of the yarn are two elf brothers who have to embark on a quest for a chance to meet their late father.

Timid teenager Ian (voiced by Tom Holland) and his boisterous older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) are given an unexpected present by their mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) on Ian’s 16th birthday that was left for the boys by their father before his death. The gift turns out to be a magic spell that will bring back their dad for one day. But things go wrong when Ian casts the resurrection spell, and only the lower half of their father’s body appears.

To try the charm again, the brothers must find another magical stone and reattempt the spell before the day is through. But getting their hands on the gem is easier said than done. Ian and Barley thereby find themselves on a challenging quest that requires them to use the latter’s knowledge of magic which he has gained through a role-playing game.

Familiar lessons are learned along the way, as the film explores loss, yearning, and brotherhood.

The premise, inspired by the director’s own experiences, is intriguing, especially during the first few moments of the movie, but as things proceed, the storyline devolves into a fairly uninspired, predictable road-trip-esque trip. The shenanigans are neither as amusing nor as exciting as they could have been. It is what ultimately makes the whole endeavour come off as a bit lackluster. The voice cast doesn’t provide any exceptional performances either.

But while it may not be the most inventive animated adventure and its emotional impact may not be as powerful as Pixar’s finest projects, Onward is still a poignant tale with several moments of warmth that make the ride engaging.

The movie may not qualify as essential viewing, but its heartfelt story is still likely to strike a chord with viewers, even if it ultimately leaves them wishing the journey had been more creative and memorable.

Rating system: ☆Not on your life ☆ ½ If you really must waste your time ☆☆ Hardly worth the bother ☆☆ ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
☆☆☆ Good enough for a look see ☆☆☆ ½ Recommended viewing ☆☆☆☆ Don’t miss it ☆☆☆☆ ½ Almost perfect ☆☆☆☆☆ Perfection

In the picture: Review on Onward