Eppler: 'Onward' is middling Pixar, meaning it's still better th - FOX34 Lubbock

Eppler: 'Onward' is middling Pixar, meaning it's still better than most

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"Onward" comes from the Pixar animation juggernaut, which comes with impossibly high standards. They can't all be "Toy Story." But even middle-of-the-road Pixar is better than anything the "Minions" people make. Considering the only other family offering in theaters right now is "Sonic the Hedgehog," how can "Onward" not be refreshing?
"Onward" centers on two elf brothers whose father died years ago. The youngest, Ian (voiced by Tom Holland), never met him. Older brother Barley, voiced by Chris Pratt, has scant memories of Pops and suffers from a case of arrested development obsessing over fantasy and role playing card games.
But that'll come in handy when Mom reveals a secret about Dad: he left the boys a wizard staff. They learn they can bring dad back for 24 hours, but the spell doesn't go quite right. They bring back his lower half only. 
So the brothers have to go find a thing that'll help bring back the rest before time runs out - overcoming obstacles along the way. It's a pretty straight-forward teenage road trip picture mashed up with a fantasy epic and it works.  Movie fans will surely spot "Onward's" varied influences from "Weekend at Bernie's" to "Indiana Jones" and "Goonies." 
It's not groundbreaking but it's funny and charming. But for a fantasy movie, there's not much thought put into the world building. It's basically like ours but with mystical creatures. Think "Bright," but not awful.
"Onward" does follow the Pixar story formula well and to that end, no, I didn't cry. My son was sitting right there. 
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2


* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful - The worst, an insult to movies

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