Pixar for Disney Studio released Onward in 2020 as its latest outing, utilizing voice actors (Tom Holland & Chris Pratt) from its other subsidiary company, Marvel. The good news is that the film is perfect in every sense, the bad news? it was released during the early Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020 and suffered poor performances as many (including me) avoided going to the cinemas. Despite being available for digital download by Disney, the film tanked in the box-office, grossing only US$103 million with its US$200 million budget. So, now there are more reasons to watch it!
Onward is an adventure film about two elf siblings who lost their father early on. The elder, Barley, is obsessed with the “old world” where magic was widely practiced, while the younger, Ian, tries to become more of their late father. On Ian’s 16th birthday, the boys received a gift that will allow them to reunite with their deceased father once more. This, of course, requires a road-trip to the mountain and find a precious magic stone.
Some critics slammed the road-trip as predictable, cliche and nothing spectacular. They didn’t hate it, as the film holds 88% on Rotten Tomatoes today, but the film clearly lacks something to which I strongly disagree. It might not have the best adventure saga like Toy Story or Finding Nemo, but it isn’t as lackluster as, let’s say, The Incredible 2? From encountering group of biker gang fairies, avoiding police officers to riding on a gargantuan Cheetos – each adventure is well-written and exciting.
While Frozen shares a similar sibling-theme, for me, Anna and Elsa’s relationship can look forced at times. The two princess can learn from Ian and Barley who have a more realistic older and younger siblings dynamic: the elder is more protective, a third-parent figure like and loves to annoy the sibling, while the younger, who hates being micro-managed, realizes they won’t have it any other way. With its gorgeous CGIs, witty dialogues, eccentric characters (Octavia Spencer’s The Manticore!) and tear-jerking ending, Onward is a heartfelt sibling animation like no other.
You can stream Onward on Disney+