Review: PIXAR’S ONWARD “As to be expected, pretty damn magical…”

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Title: ONWARD
MPAA Rating: PG
Director:  Dan Scanlon
Starring: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Ali Wong, Lena Waithe, and Mel Rodriguez
Movie length: 1 hour 43 minutes

What it is: The next film from the terrific team of creators at Pixar. The movie is set in a world where magic has been replaced by technology. The animated feature follows two brothers who after receiving a wizard’s staff from their dead father embark on a quest to retrieve a gem that will bring him back fully for one day.

What Dan thought: As to be expected from this studio, ONWARD is pretty damn magical. Pixar has once again proved that they really are the ones to beat when it comes to this standard for appealing, charming, heartfelt and, yes, bloody funny animated movies. The rendering of this fantastic world in the movie, from the main characters to the backgrounds and the environments, completely blew me away.

The voice cast, of course, is terrific, with the main cast including the likes of the Macy’s Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, playing the heroic brothers of the story with Louis-Dreyfus playing their mom, and Spencer playing a manticore. Because, hey, why not?

Full credit for how well this story goes – a tale which could quite easily slide into its own conceit and utterly off the rails – needs to go to Dan Scanlon (last directorial duties: 2013’s MONSTER’S UNIVERSITY) for both his tight direction of the voice cast and for co-writing the story along with Jason Headley and Keith Bunin (piece of trivia here, Bunin wrote the screenplay for the very bizarre Daniel Radcliffe starring HORNS).

The score and music was handled terrifically by brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna while Pixar veterans Sharon Calahan and Adam Habib handled the cinematography.

The story itself moved at a great pace and is a wholesome family movie in the tradition of Pixar’s recent offerings, and towards the end I may have teared up a bit.

Dan’s grade: A. If you’re looking for a well cast and terrifically written movie that you can take your kids to, this is definitely one you need to see. Or go with a significant other. Or go by yourself! Make an excuse, you won’t go wrong with ONWARD.

The movie opens in theaters on March 6, 2020.

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