Either Onward wasn’t that great, or I was in a weird mood when I watched it.
Or maybe the previews ruined it. I prefer to watch movies that I know nothing about. Movie trailers that show you jokes from the movie are awful, because a joke is really only funny when it’s a surprise.
Or maybe it’s that I don’t like movies about high school. Onward is about a magical quest, sure, but it is also somewhat about being in high school. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a television or film depiction of “the American high school experience” that bore any resemblance to my own high school experience. Relatability fail. Every time.
Or maybe it’s that the movie can’t be about an epic quest and high school at the same time… too much cognitive dissonance.
Or maybe it’s that Pixar’s charm is fading; too much reliance on a formula? The story did seem to have the odor of plot coupons — not that the brothers had to physically collect things, but they did go through a series of preordained steps to reach a goal. Sure, there was a meaningful ‘inner’ journey, but the outer journey seemed a bit paint-by-numbers.
It’s not that it was a bad movie. It was good. But I couldn’t love it whole-heartedly.
The funniest part of Onward was the scene at the chasm. I laughed so much! But there are some really, really sad moments too… And some cringey ones, which is probably another reason I didn’t like the movie as much as I was hoping to.
See below for a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.