"Onward" Talkback (Spoilers)

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Staff member
Aug 10, 2003
East Coast of USA
Let me say, I had really no interest in this film, but my baby niece wanted to see it, and I ended up really enjoying it. As Ian went through the list of things he’d like to do with his father, he slowly realized that his brother was there for him, and really believed that he’d do great things. I think it was a satisfying twist, especially when it was only Barley who got to see his father, who never got to say goodbye to him.
I was also not expecting Ian to use his magic in combat. Using everything Barley taught him.
This may not go down as Pixar’s greatest film, but it’s definitely not close to being their worst.

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I sawed this boat in half!
Dec 3, 2017
United States
Saw it last night. I thought it was good. Certainly not the best Pixar film to date, but still good.

The setting was fun. I was worried that the magical and modern parts of the world would clash, but I think they meshed well. There were lots of fun little references sprinkled throughout the film. I especially enjoyed the backstory told at the beginning of the film about how the magic was lost.

Both brothers were great, well-developed characters. Seeing their relationship grow as the story progressed was satisfying. I thought it was cool that each committed one big, selfless act in the film (Barley sacrificing his truck to save Ian, Ian distracting the dragon so that Barley could tell their dad goodbye). Speaking of that scene, I would say that it is probably my favorite moment in the film. I liked the choice of Ian watching Barley and their dad interact from afar instead of seeing the encounter up close. That was smart of the storyboard artists. It made the meeting feel more powerful.

The other characters were pretty memorable, too. I was rooting for the mom the entire movie, and the Manticore provided some light comedy relief. I didn't care for the police officer centaur as much.

My main gripe with the film is that it really wasn't that funny. I chuckled at a few things, like how the dragon's face was made from the painting of the school mascot, but honestly, the film felt very dry comedy-wise. At least the film wasn't jam-packed with juvenile potty humor like many other kids' films nowadays are, but I was hoping for an Up-like situation: moments where I was laughing out loud right after sobbing uncontrollably. I teared up at the end, but unfortunately, I barely laughed at all.

Overall, while not the most amazing film in the Pixar universe, I still enjoyed Onward very much and will look forward to watching it again when it comes to Disney+.

Rating: 8/10.

Also, anyone else find it weird that we're living in a universe where a SIMPSONS short was shown before the film? *sigh* I hope this doesn't mean that we won't ever see another Pixar short ahead of a theatrical movie again.

Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!

I am in a very philosophical mood after seeing that. It made me question a bit about what makes a good movie, and what are unreasonable expectations for good movies. It even made me question what makes a movie worth existing, and a story worth telling.

The elephant in the room is the Coronavirus, which led to this film being a box office bomb, which Disney then quickly put on Digital and then Disney+, because that's not the movie's fault, and families might like it, and it's pretty good. The question I asked myself in the comfort of my own home was, "Would I have put my life at a small risk to see that specific film in the theater?" Honestly? That is probably true for a handful of my favorite movies. It's just that you never know how great a movie is going to be going in, and that's the risk of seeing it in a theater. The risks for seeing THIS movie in a theater were quite a bit higher than a waste of 15 bucks however.

While I don't necessarily think my 15 bucks would have been wasted, I also wouldn't put my life on the line for it, even if the risk were much more minor a few weeks ago than it is now. And I'm starting to be amazed at the tough position the producers were put in. In order to even be remotely successful the film would have had to have been so great, and so demanded to be seen on the big screen, that people would risk their lives for that. And of course of the movie is NOT great, much less THAT great, so it's like an additional pressure was put on a movie Pixar clearly didn't invest a ton of time and effort into.

It is far better than The Good Dinosaur for sure, but it is similar in that it's built around a high-concept that isn't actually interesting, and it follows an adventure that frankly I didn't feel needed to be told. To be fair, I liked the legit tension of the climax, and the notion of brotherhood the movie explored, which is not something a ton of family films put a huge value on. But I feel like this movie exists because Pixar had an opening on the schedule, and this is the best they could come up with by the time March 2020 came around. Good for the film for not being outright awful like The Good Dinosaur, but if the question is "Does this film deserve to exist?" The answer depends on whether or not you believe every film, no matter how weak, or pedestrian, or previously seen before, or how cynically tied to it is to marketing deserves to exist. I'm at the point where I don't believe every movie deserves to exist. I've gotten there now.

That is a controversial opinion to have about any form of art, but it seems to me, that films like this exist solely because the studio is obligated to come out with new movies. I'm at the point where I think if the movie doesn't have something new or important to say, is not a part of a particular artist's vision, or if it doesn't tell a compelling story, society is not worse off for a so-so script never getting filmed. And this movie isn't terrible, and there are some nice things about it. But I believe the only reason it currently exists is because Disney needed to fill a hole in the March 2020 theater schedule.

If the Coronavirus had not hit I wouldn't even be thinking about things like this. Because it did I'm questioning the wisdom of creating movies simply because studios are supposed to create movies. In hindsight, that's not enough, at least not for me, at least not anymore, and maybe if this crisis is making me realize that now, it's also something that I now feel is true, whether I would have realized it otherwise or not. The virus just gave me a healthy perspective I would not have had about what makes a film worth a trip to the theater for.

So that's my wordy review that ultimately means nothing. Before I grade the movie its thoroughly average grade, I should probably point out I really liked the character design and animation of the facial expressions of the Manticore. If the entire movie had that sort of energy I might believe it deserves to exist. But here we are. ***.


Well-Known Member
Sep 10, 2006
In A House
I finally saw it. I liked it. It did a much better job than The Good Dinosaur of making a movie with a strange premise and making it work. Was I the only one who was suspecting Corey to turn into a villain? I think I’ve been conditioned to expect a twist villain in every animated movie.

Classic Speedy

Staff member
May 13, 2003
Adding to what Fone Bone said, I think Pixar's a victim of their own success. They hit home runs right out of the gate in the mid '90s-early 2000's so now it takes a lot for them to "wow" audiences like they did in the past. Had Onward come out a decade ago, it might've been praised more, but as it stands, it just feels middle of the road.
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