Pixar releases one of its weirder ones with Onward, a goofy ode to fatherhood, brotherhood and the geek glory of Dungeons and Dragons-type role playing fantasy games. While it’s not an offering that can be counted among Pixar’s best (Up, Toy Story 3, The Incredibles, Wall-E), it’s still a good time for kids and adults alike, and it packs a nice little sentimental punch in its final minutes. Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) and older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) are living with their mom (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in a suburban fantasy world inhabited by trolls, dragons and their own species—elves. Their world is very much like ours (strip malls, smart watches and crappy vans) but was once a place of magic full of wizardry and adventure. On his 16th birthday, Ian gets a note from his father, who is long dead and, in fact, never met his son. Ian’s dad has bequeathed to him and brother Barley a wizard’s staff, along with a spell incantation that can bring him back for 24 hours, giving Ian a chance to finally meet his pops. Onward is the second Pixar directorial effort from Dan Scanion, who also contributed to the screenplay. Even though the film clocks in at 102 minutes, it feels a little rushed. The city Ian and Barley live in is just a backdrop and is never sufficiently explored. It also feels like it’s missing a character or two. While Ian and Barley are fun characters, the movie could’ve benefited from another character for the ride. The focus seems a little narrow.

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