The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

  • Chris PrattJulia Louis-Dreyfus...
  • Action & AdventureAnimation...
  • Dan Scanlon
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Yasmeen Mamdouh
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Onward: When Sentiments Make a Good Movie  ‎

Featured image: Photo by Pixar/Pixar – © 2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Some features don’t flaunt the typical success factors that would list them among the classics. However, they somehow find their way to the audience’s heart. Onward might not be perfect, and probably won’t be a classic, yet it could be of sentimental value to many.

It follows adolescent anxious elf Ian (Tom Holland), and his loud older brother, Barley (Chris Pratt), whose head in the clouds. The two embark on a journey to see their deceased father, who died when Barley was a little boy, and before Ian was even born.

It all started on Ian’s 16th birthday when he discovers that the father had left them a magical crystal, as a gift for this occasion, that can bring him back to life for 24 hours. When the spell goes wrong, the pair have to go on a perilous journey with the hope of seeing their father one last time.

The premise of the animated feature about seeing a loved one who passed away is very endearing and incredibly touching, even though it overshadows the many intricacies of the plot. Other interesting events keep surfacing throughout the first two acts, until they finally give it up to the central premise with its sentimentality; then, only a robot can go through the last act without tearing up. 

© 2019 – Disney/Pixar

The characterisation of Ian and Barley is very effective, with a balance between expositional and subtle character trait clues, leaving audiences sympathising with and caring about them, and hoping that they do get to see their father. Despite being a sidekick, the mother’s share of characterisation is substantial yet on point that she added a refreshing touch, without either overpowering the main characters or seeming forced.

The animation of the film is also very amicable with all the different creatures; each is clearly distinguishable, and unique enough to stand out on their own. However, the animation of the world the characters live in should have been much more magical, especially when it comes to the locations in the third act.


For the voice acting, Tom Holland fit the role perfectly and brought Peter Parker’s awkwardness and self-doubt to Ian’s character, but perhaps he could have diversified his vocal tone. Chris Pratt stood out with his vocal performance, showing more effort than Holland; however, knowing Pratt’s abilities from previous works, there could have been much more.

Onward is sweet and endearing if somewhat tedious and muddled until its third act, where you will be touched. Forgive the film for its mistakes, and you might even think it was all worth it.

Like This? Try

Finding Nemo (2003), Inside Out (2015), and Coco (2017).

360 Tip

Pixar's iconic Pizza Planet truck appears in the troll bridge toll scene.

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