While formulaic, Pixar delivers tear jerking film in ‘Onward’

Disney Pixar's 'Onward' currently has a 87% on Rotten Tomatoes and is certified fresh.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Disney Pixar's 'Onward' currently has a 87% on Rotten Tomatoes and is certified fresh.

We’ve all had moments in our lives where we all wanted just one more day to interact with the ones we loved before they passed away. Director Dan Scanlon wanted to tell that story set in a ‘suburban fantasy world.’ Pixar’s new movie “Onward” is inspired by the story of him and his brother, who lost their father at incredibly young ages and longed for the memories lost from his passing. As a result, it makes up for an enjoyable albeit formulaic story that still manages to keep the magic alive. 

The story follows Ian and Barley Lightfoot, played by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt respectively, as they find out their late father was a wizard and left them a special gift. He left them his magic staff with one final spell, to bring him back for one day. When the spell only brings back half of his body, the boys have to find a way to bring the rest of him back before the day ends. 

The movie is aided by not just a good screenplay, but by the two lead voices who have such wonderful chemistry and fit the molds of their characters  Holland cements the role of nerdy, yet aspiring Ian, and Pratt voices Barley with such affable energy. His character who’s a bit of a goofball and a huge fantasy fanatic, has a fearless and courageous spirit choosing to face things head-on with his brother, and being his supportive backbone.

It’s no shock to everyone that Pixar has amazing animation in their movies. Onward is absolutely marvelous. The design of the creatures, monsters, mythological characters varying in size and the entire setting looks visually wonderful. However, this also applies to one of the downfalls of this movie. 

Unlike Disney’s “Zootopia,” “Onward” doesn’t take advantage of its premise or world building; it feels more contained rather than being an expansive world. Instead of  exploring locales and building more upon the mythology of the world, they are used instead as sight gags. 

Towards the last portion of the movie, there are a few scenes of adventurous and magical set pieces, whether it’s the two brothers going through a cavern filled with booby traps, or the climax involving a beast that if I’m being completely honest was much more exciting and sweet than I anticipated. And just when you thought the movie wasn’t going to pull you by the heart strings, the ending is quite heartbreaking and  is quite the tear-jerker for most viewers watching. 

“Onward” isn’t exactly the best example of the pure brilliance of Pixar, but whatever faults hold the movie back, it makes up for it with  its animation, its two main lead’s brotherly camaraderie and a story that holds it together all the way up till its touching resolution. This movie is going to hit  close to home for many people, especially brothers and those who always wanted just one more day to be with their late loved one.