Set in a suburban fantasy world, Onward introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to bring their deceased father back for one last day. Much like its previous offerings, Pixar’s latest outing is rooted in a deeply personal place. Exploring the possibility of being able to spend one more day with a parent who has passed away, Onward is another Pixar production that’s bound to suck the tears from your eye sockets.
Directed by Dan Scanlon, Onward boasts a talented cast behind its booth. Spearheaded by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, the Marvel duo share great chemistry that serves as the centrepiece of the animation feature. Exploring themes of family, bereavement and faith, Onward is a deeply committed animated film that grounds its narrative in real-world-issues.
As one would expect from a Pixar film, Onward’s animation is top-notch and visually appealing. The magical world of Onward is one of elves, dragons and wizards; the characters are beautifully animated and at the same time highly relatable. The computer animation is stunning, rendering each frame and every detail in a meticulous fashion.
Narratively, Onward is the most high-concept film Pixar has released since Inside Out. However, its “Dungeons & Dragons fantasy quest” structure reduces its potential as well as the ability of the characters to connect with the audience on a deeper level. While the Pixar feature succeeds in its emotional storytelling and tremendous, it falters due to an over-reliance on a tried and true structure.
While Onward certainly does not reinvent the wheel, it conjures up a spell of its own with the Pixar magic intact. Despite not being able to measure up against the legendary studio’s crowning achievements, Onward is an emotionally driven quest journey that most viewers won’t complain about. Boasting a terrific cast, dazzling animation, as well as an emotional story at its core, Pixar’s latest father-son drama is a real tear-jerker.