I’m a grown man who hasn’t seen most of the Pixar movies that people are obsessed with, but I was challenged to check ’em all out and share my thoughts. Join me as I watch ’em all one by one – see if I buy into the hype.
Movie No. 22: Onward (2020)
I can’t believe it but we’re at the end of the road, word to Wanya n’ dem – the final Pixar film to date. Onward is another movie I stumbled into completely blind, sort of like Ian and Barley’s pops.
At first, this felt like a Sunday night cartoon on Fox that airs in that death spot between The Simpsons and Family Guy. You know, the ones that get canceled after like six or seven episodes.
Anybody remember Allen Gregory? LOL. Of course you don’t.
But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this weird blue, non-Smurf family. Ian is basically one of Mr. Edward’s mentees – smart and shy with a whole lotta family baggage. Good natured but annoying super nerd Barley feels like one of my old college hangers-on. I love y’all but NO I’m not playing Magic: The Gathering with you.
And I swear their mom is my dentist’s assistant. I LOVE this lady. She does workout DVDs with Monster Shaun T, suplexes her sons when they get out of line and the ringtone for her centaur boyfriend is Marvin Gaye! Although I’m REALLY not trying to picture the physics of a horse man and a troll lady doing the slow wine bass line to Let’s Get It On. Also, this mom officially beats Nemo’s dad as the best parent in Pixar – when her boys go missing she doesn’t just shrug her shoulders, assumes her kid is dead and continues eating grass (looking at you, Dino Mom from Good Dinosaur), nah, Shae gets a manticore gal pal, goes on her own quest to find them and fights a trash dragon at the end of the movie.
Shae is the name of my dental hygienist, I don’t remember the mom’s name in the movie, sorry. She’s Shae to me now.
And speaking of quests, what starts out as The Final Fantasy Family (7:30 after The Simpsons on Fox!) transforms into Wizard Weekend at Bernie’s, with the sons running around to resurrect the other half of their zombie dad.
Yes, I know it sounds dumb. I too spent the first 30 minutes of the movie saying, “playa, this is kinda dumb, I’m bout to rewatch A Bug’s Life and move it up one space above Coco.” Some men like to watch the world burn.
But eventually the blue man group won me over. This movie just has so much heart.
Maybe it’s because of the 80s vibe, feeling like a weirdo mix of The Dark Crystal and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. There’s even a goofy dance number and they use a giant Cheeto for a boat. Strap a fanny pack on Ian, give Barley a Capri Sun and we’d have all the bases covered.
Or maybe it’s because we see the bond between Ian and Barley grow so well over the course of the film. A couple of people said they hated the ending and that it rendered the quest pointless. I don’t agree at all – the moral wasn’t about Ian seeing his dad, it was about Ian and Barley growing up. That was accomplished.
I’ll readily admit, Onward is WEIRD. It’s part Ghost Dad, part Goonies with Goblins and certainly won’t resonate with everyone, especially with its painfully slow start. But as both a mentor and as a guy who went on many backyard adventures with my own younger brother, this one hit really differently.
Also, I’m here for Queen Shae (or whatever her name is).
4 stars out of 5
Toy Story 3
A Bug’s Life
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 4
The Good Dinosaur
Whew, that’s it! Thanks to all of you for being way too excited about me watching cartoons from the Clinton Administration.
And no I’m not reviewing the Pixar shorts anytime soon. Let me get back to watching my Smart Guy reruns, geez.