Review: Onward (U)

Arnojya Shree takes us through the latest release from Pixar. But, does it up to their high standard?

Arnojya Shree
23rd March 2020
Over the years, Pixar has become a giant in terms of delivering emotional and soul pleasing animated movies, which has charmed people of all ages. Onward, directed by Dan Scanlon (Monsters University) is the recent sentimental addition to the list of Pixar’s wonderful movies, centring upon the loss of a parent as its tragic core.

The message of the film is delivered in a genuine, heartfelt manner which attempts to make its viewers aware of the immense love and magic which although exists in our everyday lives, but we often overlook under the veil of ordinariness. 

The hearty-core of the film is the brotherly-bond of Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who live in a modern world which has swept magic under the carpet after the arrival of the immediate comfort brought by technology. It’s Ian’s 16th birthday and his mother gives him the gift his late father had left behind for the brothers to discover together. This gift takes them on a quest to spend a few moments with their father, whilst simultaneously introducing them to the magical world of wizardry. The film focuses upon the grief of a lost parent, and the strength of the familial relationships which already exist in the boys’ life. 

Onward stars Chris Pratt (left) as Barley Lightfoot alongside one of Hollywood's top young talents Tom Holland as Ian Lightfoot. Image:IMDB

The casting of the film is as great as its narrative, especially the pairing of the elven brothers with Tom Holland (Spiderman: Homecoming, Captain America: Civil War) as the shy and lanky teenage Ian Lightfoot and Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy) as the “Quests of Yore” role-playing fanatic Barley Lightfoot. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Enough Said) voices the over-anxious “warrior” mother whereas Octavia Spenser (Gifted, The Help) soars as The Manticore who goes through the revival of her long-gone mighty days.

Interestingly enough, the film is smeared all over with pop-culture references which hint towards the narrative’s setting in a modern-time equivalent. Burger King becomes Burger Shire, Quests of Yore is just a fantastical alternative of Dungeons and Dragons, the suburban neighbourhood looks like an over-grown mushroom and dragons replace over-zealous doggos. Although the film starts with a ruckus-filled pace but gradually regains balance and delivers a heart-wrenching end which promises to make one cry, no matter the age. 

Rating: 4/5

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