It's crazy how much of an amazing library Pixar has made over the years with their films. When they entered the animation scene with "Toy Story" in 1995, it made them a force to be reckoned with. Soon after, they've followed it up with other amazing original animated movies and a handful of great sequels to back them up. Throughout the last decade, they made mostly sequels to their classics and not as many originals while two they did make, "Inside Out" and "Coco" both became instant classics and beloved once released. With the start of a brand new decade in front of them, Pixar decided to get back into focusing on original films with their first one of the new decade being "Onward". This is a title that seems somewhat metaphoric, not for the film, but also for Pixar in general. They're going onward with a new leader, onward towards making original movies and onward to keep impressing audiences with their films. This is once again a great film from the studio who has continued to impress me with every passing film.
In a fantasy world filled with elves, trolls, pixies, and other mythological creatures, magic has now become a forgotten form after current technology popped up. However one day, two teenaged elf brothers, named Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) receive a wizard staff that once belonged to their dad whom they never really got to know from their mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The two attempt to resurrect their father, but the spell goes haywire and only brings back his lower torso. With the gem used to bring him back destroyed, the two set out on a quest to find a new one. After receiving information from a manticore named Corey (Octavia Spencer), the brothers head off to get the gem before sundown the next day in hopes to finally meet the father they never knew.
I have always really respected Dan Scanlon as a filmmaker. While his last film, "Monsters University" didn't impress some people due to the high bar that its predecessor had, I did really enjoy it and felt like he had the potential to really make something truly special with an original film. With this film, he was able to really shine since he put some of his heart into it. I could really relate to the story he was telling and how important this journey was for the two brothers since my mom and her sister lost their father when they were young. Not only that, it has a lot of true heart and energy put into it and stays dedicated to the journey throughout the whole film. There's also some very funny comedy in this film as well which comes down to the fantastic performances from the cast. Every one of the main four actors has appeared in an animated film before and this film definitely brings their A-game here. Though I think what really makes this film great is the ending. Without spoiling it, it delivers a big heartfelt punch that makes the film even better. It's ultimately what really made me fall in love with the film. As far as the animation goes, it's top-notch work which is what I expect from Pixar at this point. The attention to detail put into this film is immaculate and I loved how well crafted everything was. One of the opening shots showed dust flying around the room and it all just felt so real. I am simply amazed at how incredible the computer animation at Pixar has become. As far as the characters go, every single one of them is fun and unique. I really thought Ian was a very relatable character and I could see a little bit of myself in him. He's very awkward and shy at times, but he's determined, smart, and willing to take a challenge when needed. Barley was also a lot of fun and definitely provided some of the biggest laughs in the film with Chris Pratt channeling his days on "Parks and Recreation" and the dynamic relationship of the two brothers is perfect. It felt so realistic and natural. I also thought Laurel and Corey got a few laughs as well with Corey seeming to go through a midlife crisis and Laurel being a strong and determined mother there to help her to sons. I really think this is seriously a fantastic film from Pixar, but I don't think it's perfect. The writing of the opening scene could've been handled a lot better and it didn't really come into play very much as the film went along, not to mention some of the needed expository dialogue could've been delivered a lot better than it was handled. Not to mention, it did feel somewhat rushed. The film picks up the pace once the quest actually starts though so I don't think it's that much of a problem.
I really thought "Onward" was a great animated film from Pixar. The story was weird yet very enjoyable, the animation was simply top-notch, and the characters are also funny and memorable. I think this is a very fun animated film from Pixar and I do recommend watching it. It may not rank among their very best films, but I still think it was a very great animated film nonetheless. I'm eager to see the direction Pixar continues in the future and hope they continue to go onward towards more fantastic films.