Marvel stars Chris Pratt and Tom Holland reunite to lead the voice cast in Disney and Pixar's latest adventure.
Pixar films, including Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and the Toy Story franchise, can always be relied upon to be a treat for both children and adults alike - and Onward is no different.
Set in a suburban fantasy world, Onward follows young elf Ian Lightfoot (voiced by Tom Holland), an awkward high school student who never got to meet his father.
On his 16th birthday, he receives a prearranged gift from his dad, a magical staff which can bring him back to life for one day - but during the spell, a magical gem breaks, leaving him with only his father's legs.
Ian and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) embark on an adventure to find another gem so they can complete the spell and bring the rest of their dad back before time runs out.
Heading out in old minivan Guinevere, the duo must use Ian's newfound magical skills and Barley's knowledge of the fantastical realm, thanks to hours spent playing the Quests of Yore game, to track down another Phoenix Gem, with their father's legs - which have been given a stuffed torso and head for a fake human look - in tow.
If that wasn't enough, their mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), her road trip buddy - a manticore called Corey (Octavia Spencer) - and Laurel's new boyfriend, a centaur police officer named Colt Bronco (Mel Rodriguez), as well as some angry punk rock pixies, are on their tail.
The concept is very bizarre, and it takes a while to accept that the teenage elves are on a road trip with their resurrected father's legs, but it happens eventually.
The adventure itself is amusing enough and provokes some laughs, but it isn't memorable in comparison to other great Pixar films.
However, Onward is surprisingly more emotionally complex than you would expect, and the ending is so poignant, that it makes what came before it seem so much better. It is touching, heartwarming, and tearjerking, probably more so for adults than for children.
Holland was perfectly cast as the sweet and nervous Ian. He is excellent at conveying his emotion through only his voice and you can't help but care for the young elf.
Pratt goes back to his pre-Marvel days of being the schlubby oddball with Barley, a teenage burnout, and he gives a high-energy voice performance.
Dreyfus and Spencer both play fun and feisty women who should not be crossed.
Onward is a very sweet, earnest film that tugs at the heartstrings. It doesn't stand out when you compare it to previous Pixar outings, but it is enjoyable, and kids will probably be easily entertained by the elves' journey.
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