Is the newest Pixar animated film ok for children? Onward Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, an honest parent look at the new Disney film. No spoilers! #PixarOnward May contain commissioned links.
Pixar Onward Movie Review | Safe for Kids?
Live action remake. Sequel. Sequel. Live action remake.
FINALLY! A Disney•Pixar original movie!
It’s not a secret that I was craving an original Disney film. The tone of Disney’s creative juices lately have been terribly stagnant. Has it really been over 2 years since the release of Coco? Did all of the Disney magic get lost in all of those live action remakes and money grab sequels?
But with a twisted modern fairy tale, magical quest, and an all-star voice cast, I had high hopes that the Disney magic is back. In this Pixar Onward Movie Review | Safe for Kids?, I’m talking visuals, the story, a full PG rating breakdown, and sharing whether I’ll be letting my own kids see this original Disney film. A no spoiler parent review – was this original animated feature worth the wait? Or did Disney lose the magical story touch?
As expected, the Pixar visuals are stunning. Animation has come such a long way, and Pixar truly does it best. With animation that defies the eye, there were moments where I felt that the Pixar visual technology was actually reality. But while we had the opportunity to view this new film in IMAX, I don’t think the CGI visuals were enhanced with the extra penny theater.
The concept was great. Take a fairy tale world, and twist it for suburbia. Elves driving cars. Unicorns eating from trash cans. Dragons for pets. It’s a clash of cultures and modern days comforts. Digging back into their magical past via the ultimate quest, the rediscovery of magic, awe, wonder, adventure spearheaded the story line. Sounds adventurous, right?
And that’s where Pixar lost me.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s Pixar emotional movie at the core. That pull of the heartstrings and ugly tears are rooted in. But somewhere between the hopeful trailer, the all-star voice cast of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland coming off of a huge Marvel high, and the end credits, I felt a little – cheated.
Maybe it’s the years of Pixar setting the bar on story expectations. I mean, they set the bar high. But I didn’t leave feeling like this was the instant Pixar classic that sits on a pedestal with Toy Story, Up, and Inside Out. Instead, it felt like a watered down Pixar film.
Good, but not great.
It’s hard to put into words. As a huge Disney lover and original film lover, I really wanted Onward to be a huge hit. The story isn’t bad. It didn’t feel muddled or lost. But there was something missing at the heart of the story, the one thing that Pixar is known for. Not overly funny. Not overly serious. But also not as relatable as I had hoped. Just kind of middle of the road – safe. I felt a lost connection with the characters until the climax of the film. And the supporting roles weren’t strong either.
On the up side, Hardcore RPG lovers will appreciate the nod. There are definitely life lessons and strong talking points with kids, especially those dealing with grief and loss. There’s also that hope, the love of family, and the rediscovery of magic in our own lives. Digging into our own past can lead to a beautiful future.
That PG Rating
Pixar’s Onward movie kid friendly? It’s no secret that I am highly skeptical of all MPAA ratings (um hello, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker not disclosing any language??). As we know, not all PG ratings are the same. With ratings unpredictable these days, PG rating oscillating between Incredibles 2 intense and Christopher Robin calm, I find that providing full parent guidelines can be helpful in determining if a movie is safe for your whole family. (Most recently, the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil PG rating was very questionable.)
For this Disney•Pixar family film, I was hopeful that this Onward Movie Review | Safe for Kids? would get back to their roots like Coco, keeping everything family focused. Rated PG for “action/peril and some mild thematic elements” is Onward safe for kids to see? Is Onward ok for children?
Violence. As with any magical quest, there’s sure to be some action and peril along the way. Keeping with the cartoon feel, the violence is scaled down tremendously for family friendliness. Similar to say Finding Nemo or Monsters Inc. level than an Incredibles 2 or Cars 2 level, I appreciate Pixar’s targeting for a younger audience.
There are a few mild jump scare scenes, use of fire and medieval type weapons (like swords and axes). But when in the hands of animated mythical creatures like blue elves, the tone of the violence is very mild.
Adult Themes. Loss and grief are huge themes throughout this movie. And for anyone (no matter what age), this movie could be triggering on so many levels. But in a sense, Pixar has a way of peeling back those layers slowly – and gently allowing everyone to grieve, cope and live. There’s also the use of magical spells throughout the film – but in a “good” way. Thankfully no other potential adult content in this film. (And if you did find other themes – I think you were really “reaching.”)
Language. Thankfully, NONE to report. I’m very happy that Pixar has held up to the no language for this film. A huge surprise following the swear words in Incredibles 2. There are a few potentially sensitive words used in the film like “dang” and “son of a…(trailing off).” But that’s it. Thank you, Pixar for keeping this movie clean.
What Onward movie age rating is recommended?
With that full PG rating breakdown, I actually feel pretty comfortable with recommending the age rating of 3-years old and up. Depending on your child’s temperament to sit still for a movie and slight exposure to animated film level of suspense/peril of Finding Nemo (very mild overall), it’s a low PG rating that could be more of a borderline rated G movie.
I SO appreciated that Pixar took the time to make an original movie. they haven’t lost their magical touch. In fact, the ability for this film company to elicit that visceral emotional response from the audience for every single film released – it’s truly a gift. Pixar has a way of touching our hearts and making us feel, and feel hard. As far as benchmarks for Pixar, Onward certainly is of that high emotional caliber.
But when you add gut wrenching emotions to a watered down plot and OK supporting characters, you get an overall good but not great Pixar film. And that in of itself is…disappointing. Not an instant classic, not a family favorite, not memorable – Onward misses the mark (or half of a dad) on what should have been an iconic family film.
I wanted Onward to be a winner, to say “told you so!” to all of those Disney live action remakes and sequels. But sadly, I was left with a longing for something deeper than magic spells and unicorn puns.
Onward | Official Trailer
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I was invited to screen this film in exchange for this Pixar Onward Movie Review | Safe for Kids? All photos courtesy of Disney•Pixar. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for more movie updates, celebrity interviews, entertainment and behind-the-scenes info!
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