Onward ★★★

Onward- PG, 2020
▶️ Pixar studios, like no one else in the industry (Besides every hipster’s favorite filmmaker, Wes Anderson), understands what it means to reverse engineer kid-friendly adults films. Time and time again, they filter an emotional story that most kids would be unable to fully grasp, through a fantastical and brightly-colored world that they can. This unique formula has allowed Pixar to make some of the best movies of the century and stay relevant for almost 30 years now in the lives of kids and parents. Onward is not one of those great Pixar movies of the century, but it does continue the Pixar tradition of quality kid-friendly adult offerings. The story follows two elf brothers in a magical suburban land in which the magical land has lost its faith in magic. On younger brothers Ian Lightfoot’s (Tom Holland) 16th birthday, Him and his brother Barley Lightfoot (Christ Pratt) begin an Arthurian quest to see their dead father for 1 last day by way of the ancient and rare Phoenix gem. Their quest is marked with danger and worthy of a legend similar to Sir Gawain’s as they must abandon the technology that their culture is obsessed with and rely on the ancient magic that marked their land long ago. The commentary on technology is definitely clunky and incomplete but Onward manages to adequately combine the mythological quests of a “Knights of the Round Table” story with the whimsy that the studio behind “Monster’s Inc.” (among many others) is known for. Director Dan Scanlon (Monster’s University) is more of a hired gun than a stylist at Pixar. His story is thrilling at points and boring at others but I can’t deny that I was hit with a wave of emotion at the end. This is a story about brotherhood, one that I can relate to with my brother, even though we have never been on a magical quest featuring dragons and magical stones. When the movie was focusing on the relationship at its core, it was winning. It was only when Onward got off track, focusing on side characters and plots that felt like they were forced in their to add thematically to the story without ever being assessed to see if they fit the central storyline. Form should always follow function and if that means your movie is tackling a little less for the cohesion of the story and central themes, so be it. I would rather have a focused story with one or two central themes than a film that tries to comment on everything under the sun. Thankfully, The incredibly talented and creative writer’s room at Pixar won’t allow you to make a bad movie. Besides 2 or 3 movies, Their track record is impeccable and If a director just does what they say, the movie might not be an all-timer, but it will meet a certain minimum that most studios would die to hit on a consistent basis. This consistency has made me a little harsher on Pixar not because I hate their movies and movies in general, but because, as Anton Ego says, I love them! Onward is a good movie worthy of your time during this strange time, don’t expect one of Pixar’s best but do expect a fun time with an emotional knockout at the end. I give Onward a #7/10

Carter liked these reviews