Film Review: ONWARD
Mar 20 2020

Film Review: Onward

By: Fritz Esker

Disney/Pixar's new fantasy adventure Onward is a fine family film but does not soar to the heights of Pixar classics like the Toy Story quartet or Coco.

The movie is set in a magical land that has let technology and suburban development take over. A shy young elf (voiced by Tom Holland) turns 16. His mom gives him a package that his late father, who died before Holland was born, left for him to open on his 16th birthday. It's a magic staff and stone with instructions for a spell that will bring the father back to life for 24 hours. However, the spell goes wrong, and Holland succeeds only in bringing back the father from the waist down. So, Holland and his brash older brother (voiced by Chris Pratt) launch a quest to bring their dad fully back before the time limit expires.

There are some inspired touches, like a manticore (a winged lion/scorpion mix voiced by Octavia Spencer) who has opened a Medieval Times-style restaurant. The film is consistently pleasant and amusing but never quite reaches hilarity. It's also emotionally affecting, but not at the level of the Toy Story films (yes, it is perhaps unfair that Pixar has set the bar so high on many of its previous films).

Fans of The Simpsons should be aware that a new Simpsons short film is in front of Onward. Like Onward itself, it's enjoyable and amusing.

★★★ 3 stars (out of four)

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