But you will probably still cry
Pixar has spoiled us, and it’s really not fair. With the studio’s top-tier fare, anything less than a timeless classic is a bit... disappointing.
And Pixar’s latest offering, “Onward,” is really good. But it’s only really good. So, yeah, it’s a bit of a letdown.
Set in a fantasy world where the fantastical has become suburbanized, “Onward” focuses on a young elf named Ian Lightfoot (voiced by Tom Holland) and his older brother, Barley (Chris Pratt). The boys live with their single mom (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) following their father’s death, which occurred when Ian was too young to remember.
But there’s a bit of magic still left in this world, and Ian and Barley end up on a quest to bring back their late father to create one last memory.
Co-writer/director Dan Scanlon (whose last work for the studio was “Monsters University”) goes down a slightly more adult lane here than most Pixar fare. Pratt’s Barley, in particular, is an enthusiastic, van-driving teenager who is basically a bit of a hesher. And Pratt has a lot of fun with the character, even if it doesn’t always stick.
Holland is the emotional core of the movie, the boy who never knew his dad until a magical spell brings the elder back to life. Well, halfway, anyhow. The lower half, specifically, just from the waist down. This leads to a lot of “Weekend at Bernie’s” physical humor that just really didn’t click for me.
But the epic quest the boys go on more often hits the mark. Kids on an adventure without the grown-ups? That’s always fun.
There’s also a sneaky emotional punch, and at least one scene that can trigger the waterworks.
In the end, “Onward” ultimately feels like a lesser Pixar effort, an enjoyable movie that won’t really stick with viewers.