Onward ★★★½

The beauty of Pixar’s best films is the simplicity of their main conceit. 

-What if our toys lived secret lives?
-What if our emotions were sentient beings? 
-What if a little robot fell in love?
-What if monsters were actually afraid of us?

This movie has its own classic Pixar premise:

-What if your dad was a sentient ass?

No, seriously. This is a movie about two elf children who resurrect their dead father’s disembodied legs, ass, and presumably dick and balls. 

The legs walk around on their own and when they are not covered by a scarecrow-like disguise that one of the kids make, they speak to the top half of the legs which makes the crotch of the pants feel like the dad’s head, like they are speaking into his nuts.

This premise is very strange and took me like 45 mins to get into. It’s a weird setup for this story which is essentially a tale of two brothers getting over the trauma of their father’s death by carrying around his literal ass. 

However, the second half of this movie really brought it home for me. I was caught up in the emotions of the two lead characters, and as the plot drifted father into the straight fantasy territory and away from the (somewhat corny) “what if modern America was descended from fantasy creatures” bit, it got to me. I cried twice in this movie, the heavy duty Pixar cries. The “I’m embarrassed to validate my parking because the guy at the front desk will see I’ve been sobbing” cries. 

The first 20 min sequence in “Up” was so powerful and memorable that we forget that the rest of the movie is a weird thing about talking dogs fighting a big bird. I think this movie is the reverse: a very weird and somewhat stupid premise that leads to a spectacular emotional payoff that I feel was worth the price of admission.