Monday, April 6, 2020

Review: "Onward' is mid-tier Pixar, but still possess profound magic.

Onward Review
As the Corona virus quarantine continues, studios are doing what they can in order to get the newest, coolest material to people. Over the weekend, HBO is began to offer certain shows and movies on their apps for free. This will last for a month. Amazon and SXSW are joining forces, and in the near future, most or possibly the entire festival that got canceled in March will be available to watch for ten days. You WILL NOT need a subscription to Amazon Prime to view this. People know others are getting bored, and whether you like Hollywood or not, many people are turning to artists to keep themselves entertained. Disney is also putting out newer movies on Disney+ to view, one of them being "Onward."

Much like Marvel, Pixar has really created a seemingly unbreakable formula and has stuck close to it. You can see the pieces of what has come before in many of their future movies. All of their movies all kind of feel like they are built from the same kit. That doesn't necessarily make them bad. I mean, unless you started reading this blog today, I am an out-of-my-mind Marvel fan, and I recognize how those films are alike and how they aren't. Pixar does the exact same thing. The big difference here is, Pixar seemed unstoppable in their early days. They released masterpiece after masterpiece without breaking a sweat. Then the 2010's began, and they started playing the sequel game and they started playing the prequel game. Then suddenly, all of their movies began to look alike.

"Onward" has much in common with movies of Pixar's past. It revolves around Ian Lightfoot (voiced by Tom Holland) and his older, boisterous brother Barley (Chris Pratt). They are elf brothers who live in a far away land of other mythological creatures. Their land once resembled most fantasy worlds we see in pop culture, but then somebody discovered electricity and suddenly the world lost all of its magic. Now we are experiencing a Pixar version of an urban fantasy. With several clever Pixar puns on display. The skyscrapers in this world resemble both buildings and castles, there are funny names to places, etc.

Ian and Barley's father passed away long before Ian knew him (how original, Pixar). On Ian's sixteenth birthday, his mother gets him a staff, a rare gem and a "visitation" spell in order to see his dad for an entire day. Ian is able to complete the spell, but it only brings back his father's legs. Ian and Barley set out on a journey to find another gem in order to complete the spell before the end of the day, otherwise their father's legs will disappear and the spell will be broken.

The movie is about family. How you may not realize how strong a bond you have with someone is until you really spend time with them. Maybe you look at someone a different way. When tragedy strikes, you build yourself back up again. I am talking around plot points here, but just discussing this, you may be able to guess where the movie heads. The thing is, the film punches you in the heartstrings as hard as you think a Pixar movie could. The studio knows how to work an audience. The studio is well seasoned in that aspect, you just know where its going pretty fast.

The animated detail is, as expected, amazing. The attention to detail only seems to improve movie to movie. There's laughs, there's joy, there's comfort and there's hope. If you've been impressed by the Pixar machine thus far, this probably won't disappoint, I just don't think they made The Next Great Pixar Adventure here. But cuddle with your family and enjoy yourself!

FINAL GRADE: B

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