Onward Review: The Fantastic(al) D&D Movie People Have Always Wanted

Onward is the story of two elvish brothers. The younger of the duo, Ian (Tom Holland), is turning 16 and trying to face all of his multiple insecurities about getting older and navigating life. The elder, Barley (Chris Pratt), is full of charismatic loving energy and living life to the fullest perhaps a bit recklessly. When the two discover that a magical staff bequeathed to them by their late father might hold the key to spending one more day with him, they set out on a road-trip, quest-like adventure to find a mythical gem. Along the way, the pair discovers what it means to be a brother to the other.

What works in Onward is the adaptation of fantasy elements onto the Pixar model of heartfelt stories about relationships with just the right spice of humor. Director Dan Scanlon joyously channels his inner geek as a vessel to explore the hardship of growing up without a father and his navigation of the difficult topic is warm and respectful. The anchor of this journey is undoubtedly Pratt (The Lego Movie) who once again uses his voice to create incredible depth and empathy. And surrounding the characters are hilarious nods to role-playing game nomenclature and situations which keeps the journey engaging for viewers of all ages. Younger patrons will laugh out loud, older viewers familiar with the genre will be giving slow claps of high praise, and everyone will be emotional when the credits roll.

RELATED: Disney’s Domination Is Complete: Simpsons Short To Play In Front Of Onward, Kevin Feige Debuts On Series

Individuals who are not well-versed in fantasy, RPGs, or mythology may not enjoy Onward as much others. Indeed, Onward unabashedly leans into the theme to propel the narrative so opinions and perceptions of those elements will ultimately sway satisfaction to a certain degree. If an audience member has never heard of manticores or pixies, then it is possible that many of the jokes won’t land. Also, for those who feel that Pixar films are becoming a bit too formulaic—a hero’s journey of self-discovery and appreciation—will likely criticize this entry as rote.  However, while the messages and themes are unquestionably familiar at their core, the execution is so solid that hopefully many will excuse the telegraphing.

Onward is Pixar at its absolutely finest—a strong story bolstered by the combination of characters and comedy leveraging a clever lens to tell the tale. While some genre elements might be foreign to people, the experience is just so endearing that this film is recommended for all.

Recommended if you enjoyed: Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Toy Story 2


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Night Terror Banner   GenreVerse Have you checked out LRM Online’s official podcast feed yet The Genreverse Podcast Network? This includes our premiere podcast The Daily CoGBreaking Geek Radio: The Podcast, GeekScholars Movie News, Nerd Flix & Chill, Marvel Multiverse Mondays, Anime-Versal Review Podcast, and our Star Wars dedicated podcast The Cantina. Check it out by listening below. It's also available on all your favorite podcast apps! Subscribe on: Apple PodcastsSpotify |  SoundCloud | Stitcher | Google Play

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