Pixar has given us a new gold standard by which to judge films meant for children. After more than 20 films in their stack we have a good idea of what to expect from them. And let me say right off that even a not great Pixar movie often beats the best of the competition.
We have reason to expect good things from writer/director Dan Scanlon. He oversaw the previous Pixar hit “Monster University.” “Monster University” also had a very big budget and in typical Pixar fashion, it returned a huge flood of dollars to the movie makers.
Scanlon has a stellar crew to voice his cartoon elves, a manticore and who knows what other mythical critters in this charming family fantasy. Chris Pratt and Tom Holland provide their voices. So does Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine on “Seinfeld”). Oscar winner and multi-nominee Olivia Spence adds her talent as does funny woman Tracey Ullman. John Ratzenberger of “Cheers” fame rounds out the famous cast members.
And what a wonderful Pixar family story this is. Two brother elves, one a 16-year-old dweeb, the other, an older, boisterous gear-head, try to magically bring back their departed dad for a single day. Along the path of the classic quest they come into and out of a long series of dangerous scrapes. They battle a biker gang of angry pixies. They outwit or flee the police. They learn how to do magic. But best of all, they learn how much brothers can, do and should love one another. I cried from happy and maybe from a bit of regret that I do not have a brother.
“Onward” runs for one hour and 43 minutes. This kid friendly length meshes well with the mild, OK for any age PG rating. While not as grand and wonderful as Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” few films are. It makes a pleasing, enjoyable romp in a fantasy setting for young and old. I enjoyed the strong four sawblade kid flick with a great message of brotherly love.
Colt Bronco is a centaur and boyfriend to the brother’s widowed mom. He’s a good hearted centaur even if a bit awkward around his girlfriend’s teenage sons. In Pixar fashion, there is a lot of extra stuff going on around the edges of the main story. I think you will like taking the grandkids to this one.