Disclosure: DAPS MAGIC was given complimentary admittance to see Disney and Pixar’s Onward, the thoughts and opinions in this review belong solely to Mr. DAPs.
Disney and Pixar’s Onward is now out in theaters. It is about two boys who seek to have one day with their departed father when the younger one, Ian, has his 16th birthday and receive a present that gives them hope for what seems to be impossible. With this new magical gift in hand (quite literally), the brother Barley and Ian go on a quest to have a magical day with their father. What they find along the way is stronger than magic. Pixar’s Onward isn’t just about quests and magic, but also about family and the bond of brotherhood.
The storyline for Onward is one that, to be honest, is fairly predictable. The setup is solid, the quest makes sense, and the adventure follows through in ways that are both fun and satisfying. For fans of Dungeons and Dragons, there are a lot of references to be found. However, if you don’t know the game, you will still enjoy this film. At its core, it is a story of adventure for two brothers who just want one more day with their dad. While most of the story will bring a smile, there are definitely moments that are going to pull at the heart strings as well. This is a story that will connect with different people in different ways. I found it to be incredibly enjoyable and satisfying. It wasn’t too heavy, which it could have been. It also didn’t go the other way and not take itself seriously. Instead, it is a well balanced movie that shows both humor and heart.
It almost seems pointless to review the quality of Onward. To put it simply, it’s a beautiful movie just like one would expect from Pixar. The colors are vibrant. The design is intriguing. Overall, everything looks wonderful. The sound is equally solid. I reviewed this movie in a 4DX theater which added extra elements to the viewing experience. This included moving seats, wind, extra lighting effects, and even smells! Surprisingly enough, the smells in the 3DX theater are what sold me on it. During one point when there was flame and smoke being shown on screen, a smell was coming into the theater that totally added to the moment. While this could definitely have gone the wrong way, the way it was done in the 3DX theater really was a win. All that to say, the visuals were awesome, audio was impeccable, and the 3DX effects did add to the story as well.
Characters can make or break a story. The brothers, Ian and Barley, in the film really were totally believable. As the story progresses and the audience learns more about them, they totally make sense. Clearly, a great deal of thought was put into making them credible. The big question mark though as I was going in to see the movie was if a half-a-father could make for a credible character or would it be a running gag. Or worse, would it just feel like a cheap gimmick. Thankfully, none of this is true. This should be a surprise as Pixar is incredible at creating characters with heart and feelings. However, a half a man that is basically just pants and shoes with purple socks was a question mark going into the film. The characters in Onward really all do make sense and all have a reason for being in the film. Each role had a reason for being there and also helped move the story along.
The music for Onward is really a crucial part of the movie. It brings multiple elements of the story to life. It ranges from classical music that sounds very mystical and magical to classic rock at times. Throughout the use of different genres of music at different times in the film, the variety all makes sense. The different types of music are there to serve the movie and this happens quite naturally. It has a very enjoyable soundtrack and I’d suggest checking it out on Apple Music or Spotify.
Watching Onward in 3DX is a slightly different experience than watching it in 2D or 3D. This experience also adds movement to the seats, lighting effects, wind effects, smoke, and even smell! I will admit, all of this takes some getting used to when going to a 3DX film. However, it also does surprisingly add to the viewing experience. With Onward, there were less 3DX effects utilized than some other movies I’ve seen this way. However, I think that was to its advantage. Sometimes less is more and in this case that was certainly the truth. The effects really balanced with the tone of the movie and helped move it forward as opposed to becoming a novelty or a distraction (which I would say the effects were during the previews which utilized 3DX effects MUCH more). It’s a unique experience getting to see a movie in 3DX and for Onward, it is a good one. My favorite moment for the 3DX effects was the one I mentioned above where flame and smoke was utilized and corresponding effects were used in the theater.
My one caution with 3DX if that if you are prone to motion sickness, take some dramamine before going to the movie. The moving coupled with the 3D glasses could make people prone to motion sickness uncomfortable without it. However, if you come prepared you will most likely enjoy the experience!
Disney and Pixar’s Onward continues to show what masterful storytellers the good folks up at Pixar are. This is a movie that is full of adventure, humor, and heart. It passed my watch test as I definitely did not look down to once to see how far through the movie I was. Where it didn’t really have any surprises in its plot, it did make up for that with the amount of creativity found in the world and the characters that inhabit it. Perhaps the best compliment I can give it is that I’m looking forward to seeing it again and I can’t wait to see it on blu-ray so I can watch the bonus features! Go out and see it while it is in the movies though (and 3DX as well), you will have a great time!