In a world of magic where magic has been forgotten in favor of technology, two brothers are suddenly given a chance (thanks to magic) to spend one last day with their deceased father. However, the spell is botched and they only succeed in bringing back his bottom half. Now, the two boys must go on a quest to bring back the other half of their dad before the sun sets and their chance to see him vanishes forever.
While I was watching this movie, I got reminded of why I love animation so much. It’s the originality… the chances that the medium can take. A movie like Onward would have never been attempted in live action and, when chances are taken in live action, it is usually rewarded with empty theaters because it’s not a sequel or a comic book movie.
Am I a little bitter about that? Yeah, most likely. But, then again, I can’t be that bitter because animation takes those wonderful, stupid, silly stories and goes big with them and we accept them because it’s a cartoon, I guess.
Yeah, you have junk like everything that Illumination puts out, but for the most part, you have great things like Onward that is so unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
I love originality, even when its wrapped up in something familar.
The family story between the two boys is something we’ve seen before, but it’s wrapped up in such an amazingly realized world with such a rich culture and backstory that it doesn’t matter. Both Chris Pratt and Tom Holland bring both humor and heart to their roles and have a great chemistry together. Around them are a virtual army of hilarious three-dimensional characters. Guys, it’s just wonderful. It’s funny. It’s sweet. It’s everything that Pixar is famous for if you don’t count Cars and The Good Dinosaur.
Onward is one of those movies that genuinely feels like an adventure and, these days, these kinds of movies are few and far between. The characters are people you care about, the stakes are always present, and the goals are always clear. Everything happens organically, nothing seems contrived, and no scene feels like it is wasted. What’s more, the (predictable) changes that take place in the characters feel earned through experience and hard work instead of the simple requirements of the script.
The movie never quite meets a tear-jerking and deeply emotional moment like the Toy Story sequels, Up, or Coco, but it instead revels in the small quiet moments and, somehow, that makes the movie even more genuine.
Obviously, I loved it. Onwards is just a load of magical fun, a terrific comedy, and a multilayered world all to itself. I think I could honestly watch this film ten times in a row just to catch all of the background gags.
Burger Shire: Now Serving Second Breakfast. I’m sorry… but that’s genius.