Rating: C. I might get called out for that. It’s cool. Maybe I missed something.
Summary: Two elven brothers embark on a fantasy quest infused with human technology to bring their papa back for one day.
Simply put, I found Onward to fall into the predictable bucket, meaning I watched and had an idea of what the ending would be within the first few scenes, but I didn’t have a fun time watching the rest of the movie, I wasn’t drawn to anything in particular, and I didn’t feel invested; when The Moment happened, I thought to myself, “A-ha.” The credits rolled and that was that. I moved on.
There are a few things that contributed to my indifference towards this movie- I didn’t find it visually interesting. The story didn’t really speak to me. It was cute and it certainly had its amusing moments, but it registers more as a Movie! than a *~*PiXaR*~* movie. Mostly, I felt nothing for the dynamic or lack thereof between Elf-Tom Holland and Elf-Chris Pratt, and I cannot for the life of me remember their character names in the movie (another bad sign). I found the voice acting to be flat, like flatter than The Lion King flat. Pratt, as good as he is in the Guardians series, is one-dimensional here as a goofy, oafish older brother and he’s unable to hit the right notes when emoting in the more reflective moments. Holland is fine and a few hairs better. Overall, they both lack character development as individuals, making their growth as a pair less interesting.
And since that growth is stunted when its meant to be the core or propeller of the movie… Onward doesn’t have that same feeling of payoff. A lot of the in-between is stagnant- empty even- rather than building in anticipation. I’ve usually bitten my nails in a state of dread and burst into tears for Pixar works. Maybe I’ve set the bar too high for the studio, but I’ve come to expect thinking on a deeper level when I watch their work- they are some of the best in storytelling, use of allegory, doing the whole “show-don’t-tell”. They’re so good at it! They did it to themselves, really.