Not a Pixar classic, but a definite step up for Disney - 6.5/10
Verdict: The issue I (along with many others) have had with the Disney approach to filmmaking over the past few years is simple: their movies felt like soulless cashgrabs constructed in scientific labs. Creative integrity was sacrificed to optimize box office gains, and while the experiment most definitely worked, it came with side effects that left many of us sour.
Not counting the Fox acquisitions for obvious reasons, "Onward" is the studio's first theatrically released non-sequel/remake since "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" and first film based on an original story since "Coco", released in 2017(!) And I'll admit, it was refreshing to finally witness them tackle a project reminiscent of what they were once admired for. The movie, which voice stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as two elf brothers set on a quest to find a rare crystal that will allow them to see their diseased father one last time, is set in a magical land where fantastical creatures live in harmony. It definitely is a step up from what we've been receiving lately from Pixar, but it's still far from the quality of their classics such as "Ratatouille" (which is my personal favorite film produced by the studio). While the animation is beautiful, the message moving, the dynamic between the two brothers palpable, and the quest fun, it did unfortunately still feel that they were ticking off boxes of a formulaic list with its narrative (ironic, considering the fact that the main character always carries a list with him).
There were many cliches, an at times annoying lead, and a narrative we've seen explored in many films in the past set in different settings, but "Onward" had heart, and that alone made the watch worth it for me. It's no masterpiece by any means, but it's a light, dare I say heartwarming watch that I do recommend checking out, preferably with your family or loved ones.
FINAL GRADE: 6/10
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