Pixar pleasantry number… oh, I don’t know. Lost count.
Anyway, whether they’ve passed or moved away, we’ve all lost someone. And… if we could spend one more day with them, we’d take extreme measures to do so. That’s the spotlight upon Pixar’s new adventure, ONWARD!
Inspired by director Dan Scanlon’s own relationship with his brother and connection with their dad (according to production notes), ONWARD’s setting takes place in a fantasy world, where two teenage elf brothers, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt), go on an adventure to discover if there’s still magic left in the world in order to spend one last day with their dad, who died when they were too young to remember him. Exposing them to challenges beyond their imagination, the journey doesn’t go without speed-bumps and inevitable chases at the hands of their concerned mom (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her Manticore friend (Octavia Spencer).
Smothered with some of the most diverse and interesting, colorful, vibrant characters ever to bless a Pixar pic, ONWARD is a unique-looking animated feature. To say it has a lot of artistic appeal that presses all emotional buttons would be an understatement. It touches upon loss, coping and acceptance. It sheds light on a wonderful story about the magic (metaphoric and figurative) within familial bond, love, respect, and appreciating who you have on either end of existence. It’s engaging, fun, dramatic, funny, inspirational, and different. Its exposure among the narrative is really sweet and creative, with a touch of contemporary appeal adding a bit more towards relatability.
This isn’t Pixar’s first rodeo when it comes to ‘family’ as a subject-matter, only this time… it gets deeper within the realm of an absent parent — and pulled through beautifully. The story handles it in such a fragile way, it helps cover both ends of its viewing spectrum: kids and adults. It’ll raise questions as a lot of kids will see themselves played out in both Ian or Barley. On the flip, a lot of parents will also see themselves played out in the film, by taking on those parenting responsibilities of making sure things stay afloat. Leave it to Pixar to spark up interesting dinner conversations, ey? Honestly, this film was personal for me, too.
Its title defines the outcome: forward movement. At a run a bit under 2 hours, ONWARD is able to hijack your attention and steal your soul. As a whole, Pixar has placed another notch on their belt with this one. The overall result is a film that places the world art in heart, because this piece overflows with both.