Pixar’s “Onward” Review (Spoiler Free)



Tom Holland (left, Ian Lightfoot) and Chris Pratt (right, Barley Lighfoot) in a promotional shoot for Pixar's new movie, "Onward"

Jacob Myers, Sports Writer

I went on to my phone on Saturday morning to see what movies were in theatres when I saw there was an advanced screening for Disney/Pixar’s new animated feature Onward. When I saw that the opportunity was out there, I immediately bought my tickets and went to go see the new flick. So, here’s my week-early review of Pixar’s Onward.

If you know anything about the movie, you know that it focuses around actors Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as elves in a world lost of ancient magic. Pratt’s character Barley is the older brother of Holland’s Ian Lightfoot. The story revolves around a ‘quest’ to bring back the other half of their father after a magical spell only brought back his legs. Based heavily upon Barley’s love of a role-playing board game inspired by the past of their world, Barley uses his experience with the game to help his younger brother learn magic in an effort to bring back their father. 

In typical Pixar fashion, the movie will make you well up with tears towards the end. Although it isn’t as heart wrenching as Pixar’s last movie Toy Story 4, there are many touching moments between the two brothers as the movie quickly climbs towards the climax. The relationship between the two brothers propels the true narrative of the story, as their true feelings for one another slowly come out across the course of the movie.

But, as much as I loved the relationship between the two brothers, the movie lacked a strong third character to support them in their mission. If you were to ask moviegoers who the third main character was in the movie, most would find it hard to provide an answer. There are supportive characters: Colt Bronco, Laurel Lightfoot (mother), and Corey the Manticore; but, none of them truly provide enough support to the story to make their presence worthwhile. The mother comes into play during the climax, but for the rest is useless as a character. Colt is played off for laughs and truly could be wiped and the movie wouldn’t hurt from it. And, Corey is there to fill the character that subverts expectations and goes completely astray from what the audience expects them to be. The supporting characters are truly lackluster at best. But, the story focuses on the brothers, so that issue isn’t too bad.

The one other major hit I have on the story is that one character (for the sake of not spoiling the movie) has what I like to call ‘Rey disease”. Rey disease is when a character, at the beginning of their movie, literally cannot perform any action that could help them; but in the end is able to do whatever without any struggle in order to win the day. For example, Rey should not have been able to go toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren in their first fight, but ultimately beats him. In Onward, a character falls under the same issue. They have so much trouble in the beginning in learning how to handle magic. Yet, they are able to perfectly use it in the end.

Enough of the bad. It’s time to focus on the good. Tom Holland & Chris Pratt truly shine in their roles, and obviously have great chemistry. Pratt channels his performance from The Lego Movie and acts as  a Jolly goof who just wants to go good, and Holland sells his part as someone who just wants to meet his father and will do anything as fast as possible to do so. The funny scenes are truly funny and the emotional scenes are tense due to how good the two truly are. Even though they are playing young kids, they truly sell the part when it comes to producing adult emotions. 

One of the things that I absolutely loved in Onward was the relationship that both of the boys had with their father. Barley just wants to be able to say goodbye, and Ian just wants to be able to meet him. The two different ways that the boys handle their ‘quest’ is dependent on how much time they want with their father. Ian wants as much time as possible, but Barley is in it for the adventure on the way. The different ways in which the two act with the legs of the father shows how they both feel about him. Barley plays around and jokes with the legs, while Ian protects them at all costs, preventing them from danger. Truly, their actions towards the legs exemplify their character as a whole. Ian is a quiet, protective person when Barley is an outgoing, caring person. The two personalities duel perfectly throughout, providing great tension and situational irony.

Overall, you should see Onward, even if you think that you’re too old to see a Pixar movie. It’s heartfelt, emotional, and truly funny, and it is worth your time to go see it. It may not be a memorable movie like the Toy Story series, but it is a great addition, with some flaws, in Pixar’s grand lineup. It’s a good, heartfelt story with good actors doing their best to help the movie stick its landing. And it sure did.


Jacob’s rating: 8.5/10