Even as a die-hard Pixar fan the outlook for Onward did not look great. The trailers were incredibly mediocre, and the film had the feeling of being snuck into theatres with substantially less marketing money spent on it then the traditional Pixar film. Obviously as a die-hard fan I would be excited for anything t they put out and was near an IMAX on a trip away during opening weekend. I went along with very muted expectations. What did Pixar deliver with their first film of 2020?
They have delivered something they given the box office numbers is clearly not going to be a massive hit by Pixar standards but I’m willing to bet it will have a massive cult following in 5 years’ time. Don’t get me wrong this is very much B tier Pixar but it’s still enormously entertaining and introduces audience to the kind of fantasy world that is begging for expansion far away from the machismo suggested by the trailers. If you like the idea of Pixar doing high fantasy this film is for you. It also looks stunning as expected from a modern Pixar production with the IMAX presentation bringing out the vibrant colours and environment more than IMAX presentation of Toy Story 4 that I saw last July. The voice work is also suitably strong throughout with Tom Holland and Chris Pratt really bringing life if the two brothers at the centre of the films.
The film doesn’t offer a whole lot beyond a hugely entertaining and visually stunning adventure but without spoiling it the ending (before it fades to black for one epilogue scene) represents a brief flash of Pixar at their very best. If the film has any lasting legacy beyond the incoming cult following is just how effectively the final beats of the film play out and you have to be stone hearted not to acknowledge their effectiveness Onward is not top tier Pixar by any means but I think audiences that are able to buy into the high fantasy or the sense of adventure the film creates will have a really good time. Even if it’s not a massive box office hit, I think the incoming cult fan base and the effectiveness of the ending will give the film a strong legacy