Pixar is moving ‘Onward’ with their New Hit

'Onward' Review

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Pixar is moving 'Onward' with their new hit.

Riley Kasprzyk, Staff Writer

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the film industry has certainly taken a substantial hit. With movie theatres seating a variety of people close to each other in an enclosed area, it’s no wonder that they are seen as a potential breeding ground for the virus and were thus closed down. This has negatively affected how well movies released early this year have performed at the box office, causing many companies to release movies early on digital or streaming services to try to make up for the loss in revenue. One such movie that has seen an early release on Disney+ this year was Pixar’s “Onward.” But is the recently released movie worth adding to your list of things to watch during quarantine? Yes, it is.

“Onward” is set in a world where many fantasy creatures lived and thrived thanks to the help of magic. But magic took a lot of practice and skill to master, and when various inventions produced the same results but without the tedious work, such as electricity, it gradually faded from existence. In turn, these creatures became less magical and more akin to everyday people. It is that very concept that is just fascinating. The concept alone paves the way for very interesting ideas. For example, it shows us how fairies eventually forgot how to fly and instead became a motorcycle gang.  With a concept such as that, it is hard to not be intrigued by the film.

Onto the actual plot, “Onward” is about two brothers, Barley and Ian, who upon Ian’s sixteenth birthday, discover a magic staff from their late father, who died before Ian was even born, with the power to bring him back for a day. However, the spell gets messed up, resulting in only their dad’s legs being brought back. Due to this, the brothers must go on a quest in Barley’s van to complete the spell and get a chance to be with their father. It’s an incredibly heartwarming concept that results in a tale of brothers learning just how special they are to each other.

And that is the high point of the movie. Chris Pratt and Tom Holland perform excellently in their roles, and they act just as any brothers really would. We get to see their relationship progress throughout the film, all leading up to a tear-jerking conclusion. This is a story that perfectly embodies the bond that siblings have. It shows that siblings will not always get along. Siblings bicker and argue, and there are points where they may be infuriated at each other. But in the end, they will always be there for each other, and the reason they go through all the low points is because of how they love each other.

However, the first apparent problem with the movie is that it kind of starts slow. For a movie about a quest, it sure takes its sweet time to start it. The brothers do not start their quest until we are approximately 25 minutes into the movie. Additionally, once it gets going, it takes a while to find its rhythm. This results in the first act being quite predictable, with not a lot of surprises. The first act usually follows this pattern: the movie will set up a plot point or an item in the story, and it will be paid off only five minutes later. Since there is such little time between the setup and the payoff, there was no time where I was caught off guard by how the brothers got out of their current predicaments. Instead, it may have been better to wait longer to pay off certain elements to ensure that the audience would be surprised since they had forgotten about the setup until then. This problem is gradually solved throughout the movie though.

Another thing I did not like very much was the side-plot with the boys’ mom and the Manticore, who is the one that told the boys where to go, allowing them to start their quest. The two must catch up to Ian and Barley to warn them of the danger that awaits them. However, this plot did not do much for me. The two characters did not have much chemistry with each other, which is especially apparent after witnessing the amazing chemistry between Ian and Barley. Whenever the focus is taken off the brothers to instead be on these two characters, I was frustrated.

We live in a time where there are so many Pixar movies that many often get forgotten by the audiences. Fortunately, though, “Onward” is not one of those movies. Its messages of filling your parents’ shoes and companionship between siblings will always be relevant. While it takes the movie a while to get on track, it takes off once it does. Out of ten, I would give “Onward” a solid 7/10. In this age of self-isolation, it is certainly worth adding to your list of movies to stream.