Entertainment Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 6

Onward Movie Review

by Nolan Runkle

As everybody knows, Pixar has produced cinematic masterpieces time and time again. However when it comes to Onward, directed by Dan Scanlon and starring Tom Holland and Christ Pratt, things just fall flat. It’s hard to create amazing films over and over again, I get it. When Pixar makes movies that last through decades, like Up and Toy Story, it’s a painstaking process, and you can feel the love that is put in the movies. But Onward feels like it lost a lot of that originality, and is instead like a drag and drop of existing movies. Onward feels empty, devoid of love, and very lacking in so many departments.

Dan Scanlon is the mastermind behind Monsters University, so already we can see where this movie went wrong. With new Pixar movies, they usually find some way to make fans relate to or just feel attached to the main character. In Onward, the main character Ian and his brother Barley, voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt respectively, fall flat and are quite frankly, bland. Both these characters are chiches of characters we’ve seen countless times before, almost a copy and paste of an already overused character archetype. You have Ian, the nerdy, “relatable” main character who does a complete 180 from his personality at the end of the movie, almost an exact copy of Mike Wazowski. And then Barley, the slightly annoying, oafish comic relief, basically a “cookie-cutter rehash of other Pratt or Jack Black characters,” as said by The Hollywood Reporter. I don’t know why, but Chris Pratt’s choice for this role seemed off, like his voice didn’t quite fit the character, but Disney needed a big celebrity’s name to slap on the project to sell more tickets. 

The movie’s main thing is that magic was almost forgotten about, so the world they live in, which is filled with a classic Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, is becoming increasingly modern, and Ian wants to learn forgotten magic to bring his dad back. This plot would have been fun to discover along the way, but they pretty much spoiled the whole plot before the movie even came out, as in you can see the trailer and not feel like you missed anything.

Don’t get me wrong, Onward was a passable movie, but that’s all it was. Passable. It’s certainly not up to the standards that Pixar has set themselves at, and was an obvious filler movie for 2020 until Disney comes up with a more passionate project. The whole movie felt like filler, and was designed to be nothing more than a way to sell more merchandise at Disneyland this spring.