18+ Onward Reviews – Props to Disney, But Ban In Middle East over Lesbian Character Shows Intolerance Still Lives In 2020

Onward ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

During my review I intentionally avoided mentioning the one-eyed lesbian cop. She was just another character, barely supporting really, but for a Disney movie of all things to acknowledge LGBTQ is a promising step in the right direction. We’re going to be seeing a gay superhero in The Eternals sharing the first gay superhero kiss later this year.

Hopefully within the next 5-10 years LGBTQ will be featured as high profile characters in major movies and few to none will make a big deal out of it. I’m adding a bit to the (bad) chorus by mentioning it here, but am doing it because I want it to be more like when African americans became commonplace in movie roles other than as servants, slaves and prisoners.

Multiple Middle Eastern markets have banned the Disney/Pixar animated movie “Onward” for featuring an explicitly lesbian character.

Disney’s ‘Onward’ Banned In Middle East Over Lesbian Character | The Daily Wire

You can read the article to see which Middle Eastern countries banned Onward. Russia asked for a small dialogue change, but those of you elsewhere can enjoy the movie and the lesbian character that breezes by so fast you’ll hardly notice she is even there.

It’s time to dig even deeper into the newest Disney/Pixar movie, so if you haven’t seen yet, then might want to come back to this post later, as SPOILERS follow.

… you have been warned SPOILERS ahead …

All Hail The Manticore

My favorite character is the Manticore, voiced by Octavia Spencer. She runs this tavern styled like a D&D adventure game, which plays a pivotal role in the brother’s quest for the gem. The Manticore has a nice subplot and character arc. Spencer’s voice acting is solid, charismatic and humorous. You’ll laugh at the Manticore’s lines. She reminded me, in spirit, of Donkey (Eddie Murphy) in Shrek, though she’s not as quippy.

How the main voice actors (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) recorded the dialogue — facing each other.

The Bottom Half of Dad is Deliciously Bizarre

Roald Dahl would have loved the below-the-waistline Dad character. He’s the right kind of quirk and zaniness. Several times in the theater people laughed at the lower-half human dancing, bumping into objects, and just moving around. The boys dress up Half Dad.


The quest isn’t quite as dramatic as it could have been. There is talk of a curse that never comes to pass. There could have been more risks, perhaps a character having some sort of tragedy.

I was also a little bummed out by the ending in that both boys didn’t get a chance to see Dad, nor did we get to hear what Dad told the one brother who did get to see him. So much build-up and this payoff unrealized seemed like just too much of an audience tease.

This was a fun movie for me to watch one time, but it doesn’t have much rewatch value to me. In fairness, most animated movies are one and done affairs for me, simply because the genre isn’t hugely attractive to me. There are exceptions, like some of The Simpsons episodes and Harley Quinn, mostly because they pack so darn much comedy into a short amount of time the viewer needs to rewatch to catch every single gag.

Onward isn’t that type of animated film. It’s more simplistic in the comedy and story-driven. Once you’ve seen the quest, the desire to watch it again just isn’t as much fun.

Reviews by Others

Let’s see what others think about Onward.


  1. alexlynch695 / David A. Lynch: “There are flashes of ingenuity that occasionally rise above the general lack of storytelling risk, including one exhilarating sequence that sees the boys trying to escape a hardened gang of spiked collar-wearing fairies”
  2. Cinerama Film Online / Neil Baker (4.5/5): “Paying homage to Indiana JonesDungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings in every scene. While its stunning animation leaps from the screen, wrapping the audience in a blanket of beautiful orchestrated fantasy.”
  3. Critical Hit / Sam Spiller: “I can’t say that I really want to view Onward a second time. It is a very competently made, gorgeous-looking and well-executed kids film. With so much garbage aimed at a younger audience out there, I’m glad the bar is set so high with Pixar films. This one just doesn’t go far above it.”
  4. Darren / the m0vie blog: “…is consistently fun throughout its runtime. As with a lot of Pixar films, the animation is top notch and there is a great deal of care in the way that the world is put together”
  5. DiscussingFilm: “…might not offer anything too new, but it is still a wonderfully solid addition to Pixar’s already-impressive resume”
  6. Duffy Reviews / Oscar Duffy (8.5/10): “…is a fantastic addition to the Pixar canon, boasting an immensely smart and visually stunning story”
  7. filmfanstake: “At first it functions like any adventure film would. You’re thinking it’s going to be conventional, in some ways it is. However if you have a brother this movie will feel special to you.”
  8. For The Love of Movies / Olly Dyche: “This movie is for me one of Disneys greats and an instant classic, with its excellent stroy, pitch perfect voice cast and exciting imagery.”
  9. Frank Lourence: “This is a Pixar film but other than the heart felt moments, it actually felt more like Dreamwork with a lot of humor and references.”
  10. Irfan Nordin (8.5/10): “It may suffer in comparison to Pixar’s classics, but Onward makes effective use of the studio’s formula and stands on its own merits as a funny, heartwarming, dazzlingly animated adventure”
  11. Major Film Reviews / Nathan Major: “There’s enough to recommend here, but it’s not their best, is what I’m trying to say. Worth a look for certain, but I doubt it’ll be one you’ll revisit time and time again.”
  12. Movie Metropolis / Adam Brannon: “While Onward won’t be troubling the very top ranks of the studio’s filmography, it definitely won’t be troubling the bottom rungs of that ladder either.”
  13. M.N Miller / Ready Steady Cut: “…is a sweetly funny and engrossing animated adventure. Scanlon’s screenplay captures endearing themes of fathers and sons, deep regret, and second chances that are universal for everyone”
  14. Music City Drive-in: “…is the step back in the right direction for Pixar that shows us the magic lost and the wonders it takes to find them. The animation is beautiful, and Chris Pratt and Tom Holland both are excellent breathing life into their characters.”
  15. That Shelf / Courtney Small: “…is filled with its share of up and downs, but it is ultimately a satisfying quest worth taking.”
  16. The Movie and Me / jeddthejedi (3.5/5): “…plot may be an old-fashioned hero’s journey and its fantasy elements might be familiar even though they’re blended with modern day trappings, but there’s sincerity and joy in this tale of brotherhood and bereavement. This is not quite Pixar’s best, but it’s still going to find a devoted audience.”
  17. X-Geeks: “a classic Pixar film. It delivers fun and frolics whilst conveying a really lovely message and gives us two leading characters that I definitely want to see more from.”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

  1. The Illuminerdi: “…has been gestating for 6 years, and while the love and care put into the film are evident on the screen, the end result still could have used more time.”
  2. Matthew Paul’s Movie Reviews: “…is a good movie; it is entertaining and creative in certain parts, but its use of the same formula that Disney and Pixar films have relied on for the last ten-plus years is starting to grow tiresome.”

Linked above and wondering what would be the cool thing to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Happy movie watching!

4 thoughts on “18+ Onward Reviews – Props to Disney, But Ban In Middle East over Lesbian Character Shows Intolerance Still Lives In 2020

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