Onward (2020) by Dan Scanlon

A story about two brothers, unlike each other, on a quest to find a magic stone that might let them meet their late father for one day. Onward is a warm-hearted, tongue in cheek fantasy adventure that is an ode to Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy stories alike as well as a smart subversion of the genre’s known tropes. Films like these are best appreciated by those who have cultivated a love for the genre. For the rest, it is amusing but not stand out in any way.

The film starts off slow but manages to stay interesting because of its characters, two contrasting brothers who embody the sibling relationship really well. Eventually, by the midpoint the film picks up speed and is better for it. The clever subversions are a constant source of laughter and though the film is well animated and voice acted, it does not create lasting moments too well. While there are some, I have come to expect Pixar films to be filled with powerful beats and memorable moments.

Nevertheless, the overall story is a good case study when considering the hero’s journey. It hits all the checkpoints in a timely manner, thus getting the recipe right but not adding anything new to the dish.

reviews · blog · where am i? · main