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Pixar Are Moving ‘Onward’

Updated on March 15, 2020

So We’re Back On Track...

I very much enjoyed Disney Pixar’s Onward especially after Toy Story 4 which was a massive disappointment. Having skipped Frozen 2 because the first one wasn’t my thing, I was left watching the closing credits of the finale to my favourite movie franchise wondering whether this was the beginning the end of my love for Pixar. Was the section of Disney that was originally contracted to make three movies finally slowing down? Onward convinced me this wasn’t true. From the setting to the characters, everything's a breath of fresh air. However this doesn’t mean it is completely out of the Pixar Spirit, it is a brilliantly balance.

Is This A New Start?

As I’ve just said Onward had a new vibe to it. This had me thinking what this new look meant for the future of the studio. Toy story has ended and a lot of the existing franchises are coming to an end, so could this be the next generation of Pixar? I hope so, it evoked the warm emotional feeling that any good Pixar movie does but it also has a teen subject matter that will be relevant to the the people that have grown up with Pixar. This means that they can learn lessons from the movies just like they did when they were little because the studio is growing with them.

Characters That Already Felt Like Part Of The Family

The characters were so easy to get emotionally attached to that I cared about their grief within a minute. This is incredibly Important to the Pixar formula because children have to love them from the very first second of the movie to the last or else they will loose interest. On top of this, the point of Pixar movies is that the audience feels empathy with characters and as a consequence learns life lessons with them. In Onward, we learn that role models aren’t always the people we assume they are, which is a life lesson teenagers often learn. This works because both brothers represent the main types of teen, one, the loud extrovert and the other the thoughtful introvert.

I Wish I Could Live In That Universe!

The settings were unlike any other Pixar universe but it was definitely one of my favourites. It had the essence of Dungeons And Dragons which also contributes to the movie’s appeal to teens. This is not only emphasised by the fact that the story is based on a DnD like game but also the fact that the main character is an awkward teenager, which I’m sure you’ll agree is the main audience for the role playing game. Furthermore, this setting allows for intriguing obstacles and more intrepid enemies. For example, how the brothers had to battle through underwater caves and use crow statues to navigate to the stone dragon.

The Casting Was Perfect

The voice actors were brilliant. My three favourite casting choices were Ian, Laurel and The Manticore. I thought Tom Holland as Ian was amazing choice because he was pretty much playing himself. Ian reflected the two Hollands that Marvel fans and pretty much the whole internet have become familiar with. At the start of the film, Ian resembled awkward ‘Peter Parker’ Tom whereas at the end he resembled confident interview Tom. Laurel was played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus who was great. She embodied the constant stress and anxiety of all mother, this made her easier to empathise with for families in the audience, of which there will be a lot. The Manticore was played by Octavia Spencer, she showed the extroverted anxiety which is common in some middle aged women, this familiarity makes her very humorous.

However I Had Mixed Feelings About The Story

Some parts of the narrative felt too obvious such the ending. I am aware that some children will watch this film, but the ending just felt a little like any other coming of age movie. However I did feel that there were some thoughtful and surprising places. For example, I felt a warm and fuzzy feeling when Ian realised that Barley had been his role model all along or when the manticore helped Laurel find the boys. With this in mind, although the story wasn’t my favourite element of this movie, it wasn’t the most obvious story I’ve watched in a movie.

In Conclusion...

All in all, I very much enjoyed this film and would give it 7.5 out of 10. Although I thought the ending was cliched, for all of the reasons highlighted I am excited to see how this fresh look at Pixar develops. This new, more mature atmosphere seems to have carried on in the trailer of Souls that came out this, last week. I will be analysing that trailer next week but so far I’m looking forward to the new Pixar generation.


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