Early reviews are out for Pixar’s latest, Onward, the first of two animated feature films from the acclaimed studio this year. Praise for director/co-writer Dan Scanlon‘s story about a pair of teenage elf brothers and their road-trip journey centered on the chemistry between Chris Pratt‘s Barley and Tom Holland‘s Ian, as well as the emotional core of their story, which hit some critics especially hard, particularly those who had lost a loved one or family member. However, criticism also found that same story a little too manipulative or basic at times, masking a “thin”, not “fully fleshed-out” plot. Full reviews are expected this coming Friday, February 21st.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Lena Waithe, Ali Wong, Mel Rodriguez, and John Ratzenberger also star in Onward, which arrives in theaters on March 6, 2020.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Set in a suburban fantasy world, “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Also featuring the voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Ian and Barley’s mom, Laurel Lightfoot, and Octavia Spencer as the voice of the Manticore, Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new original feature film is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae—the team behind “Monsters University.”
And here’s a look at how folks have responded to early screenings of Onward:
In a surprise to no one @Pixar has delivered yet another great film with #onward. 3rd act brought some tears. Congrats to @MrDanScanlon and everyone that worked on the film. Absolutely recommended. pic.twitter.com/lx45NUdtsY
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) February 19, 2020
#Onward is in the same vein as ZOOTOPIA so your enjoyment will vary based on that. The voice cast is good but the emotional manipulation often feels forced to contain a thin plot. pic.twitter.com/t7DbkRVAvT
— Kristen Lopez (@Journeys_Film) February 19, 2020
#Onward leads us on a quest to discover the power of brotherhood & the joy in the magical. Barley & Ian's chemistry wins over our hearts. A welcome departure from Pixar's usual fare, it is more emotional than I anticipated & the enchanting trick up Pixar's sleeve we didn't expect pic.twitter.com/BRCU9wgTPE
— Ashley Menzel (@AshleyGMenzel) February 19, 2020
.@Pixar’s #Onward is a coming of age story reminds us about the importance of the bonds we share w/our loved ones. @MrDanScanlon’s personal story adds humanistic and emotional depth to a fantastical world, while Tom Holland and Chris Pratt’s chemistry delivers humor and heart. pic.twitter.com/dYxV79iAT7
— Michael Lee (@IamMichaelJLee) February 19, 2020
I can't say that I'm a big fan of #Onward. The characters are fun, and the message is strong, but it also has a number of ideas that don't feel fully fleshed out, and it's surprisingly basic as far as story. It has some cute and emotional moments, but didn't work for me overall. pic.twitter.com/iu87kRZzve
— Eric Eisenberg (@eeisenberg) February 19, 2020
Onward features stunning animation with a story that is chock full of humor and heart. Pratt and Holland are perfectly cast as Barley and Ian. You can feel their connection to the story and shines through in their performances. #Onward will delight fans of fantasy & role playing.
— Scott Menzel (@TheOtherScottM) February 19, 2020
Pixar's Onward captured all the little ways we cope through grief as families, its impact and the search for closure from what's been lost. Ultimately how in that journey we find that the glue that holds us together is one another. It was so beautiful. #Onward
— Sabina Graves (@SabinaHasNoR) February 19, 2020
#Onward’s not my favorite Pixar movie, nor is it the studio’s best, but it is a story that will resonate with many. Definitely some laughs and a good time all around. If you’re a fan of RPGs, this one’s for you.
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) February 19, 2020
It's such a touching story about loss and growing up. This is my second viewing and I still teared up. It is just really relatable if you have lost someone you loved. pic.twitter.com/kRMVhAoHss
— Laura (@lsirikul) February 19, 2020
Absolutely head-over-hoofs in love with Pixar’s ONWARD. A sweet movie with a terrific voice performance from Tom Holland and a deep well of vitriol for horses, which the movie calls “nature’s most pathetic mistake” at least a dozen times. Best Pixar since…Finding Nemo?? #Onward
— ben mekler (@benmekler) February 19, 2020
Onward is weird and ✨wonderful✨ Consistently surprising, appropriately sweet, occasionally profound, perfectly Pixar.
— Alison Foreman (@alfaforeman) February 19, 2020
“ONWARD” is the adventure movie of the year.
Hilarious, magical and crazy fun!
I loved every minute of it.
— Rama’s Screen (@RamasScreen) February 19, 2020
#Pixar did again!! #Onward is fun & very emotional!! Wonderful story about family, brother’s bond with a little bit of magic!! I really appreciated what Pixar did with this film; my son saw himself represented. And, don’t forget tissues because you will cry!! @pixaronward @Pixar pic.twitter.com/jLG2uiwvyt
— Jana On Camera (@janaoncamera) February 19, 2020