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Rich reviews 'Onward' and 'Emma'

Posted at 10:09 PM, Mar 06, 2020

This week, FOX 13 film critic Rich Bonaduce reviewed "Emma" and "Onward."

EMMA.

IMDB: In 1800s England, a well-meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends

Jane Austen is reimagined almost every decade or so, and this decade is no different; and so, comes a new "Emma." (complete with a period because it’s a… period piece. Ho HO!) for a new time and with a sassy new attitude.

If you're an Austen fan, you're probably going to see this anyway... and if you're being dragged to see it, you’re in for a pleasant surprise!

Although the delightful soundtrack unwisely seems too cue almost every move, "Emma." 2020 is still much funnier than you might expect (although Austin fans often complain that most adaptations miss the humor and satire of her work in favor of the romance). “Emma.” is still romantic and moving though, especially when Emma's machinations finally catch up with her.

The casting is spot-on, and everyone seems to revel in their roles, delivering each well-written line with relish. Even the help - usually barely seen and certainly not heard - have their moments in the sun. But special accolades to leads like Anya Taylor-Joy and Mia Goth obviously, but also to supporting actors like Bill Nighy and Miranda Hart.

Since I haven’t read “Emma, “ I’m looking at this adaptation solely as a film experience; but even I know that characters such as Jane and Frank should have been fleshed out a bit more, even if that means sacrificing some of the extended dance sequence.

Oddly, even though “Emma.” is rated PG, there is a moment of male nudity from the rear that may surprise. But there's no end-credits tag, so unless you're interested in the name of the Second Assistant Director (Olivia Lloyd!) there’s no need to stick around after the movie ends unless decorum dictates it.

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Emma.

Running Time: 2 hrs 4 mins

Genres: Comedy Drama

Rated PG for brief partial nudity (toldja!)

ONWARD

IMDB: Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.

Suffice it to say that that `ol Pixar magic is still there! Although it may not be as outright funny as other Pixar offerings, especially up front during its setup, "Onward" is truly an adventure. It does take a while to get going; but once it does, it's a wonderful, modern spin on the classic hero's journey, incorporating “Dungeons & Dragons” style role-playing into the mix, along with its multilayered magical metaphor.

All of this drives its multiple points home: that the mundane everyday grind can make us forget what miracles we all truly are... the importance of role-models... to keep in touch with who we really are... and that the difficult path may sometimes be the most worthwhile one. And much more…

That sounds like a lot, but Pixar does it, and does it well in a PG-rated 100-minute package filled with wonderful animation and stellar voice performances that will probably not leave a dry eye in the house.

Again, although I did think it needed to be funnier and hit the ground running - especially considering the attention span of the little ones - other than that, “Onward” is another Pixar insta-classic. But with no end-credits tag, there’s no need to keep your little ones in their seats for any longer than is necessary! However, there is a pre-“Onward” mini-movie from The Simpsons (which is also rated PG), so get your popcorn early.

The other two wide release movies out this weekend - "First Cow" and Ben Affleck's "The Way Back" - also have great reviews, so maybe there’s not a bad one in the bunch this weekend no matter your choice.

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Onward

Running Time: 1 hr 42 mins

Genres: Adventure Animation Comedy Family Fantasy

Rated PG for action/peril and some mild thematic elements