Pixar Studios delivers another heartwarming, tear-jerking winner in Onward, but the fantasy adventure film doesn't quite cast the magical spell expected of the studio. The CG-animated flick crashes into Blu-ray with a reference-quality video presentation, an excellent DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Overall, the package is Recommended for the next family movie night.
You can read our full thoughts on Onward in our review of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings Onward to Blu-ray as a three-disc combo pack with a flyer for a Disney Digital Copy. The Region Free, BD50 disc sits comfortably atop another BD25 disc containing all the bonus material with a DVD-9 copy of the movie on the opposing panel. All three are housed inside a blue, eco-vortex case. At startup, the disc commences with skippable trailers before switching to a menu screen with the standard options, music playing in the background and full-motion clips.
The two elf brothers hit the Blu-ray road with a full tank of gas, whimsical zaniness and a magical, reference-quality 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. From the opening moments, the CG-animated film bursts with a wildly upbeat and energetic parade of colors that immediately suck viewers into this fantastical world of mythical creatures. The palette leans heavily on the secondary hues and softer pastels, gushing with lots of royal magentas, radiant pinks, blissful teals and a wide, beaming array of purples. Beneath all the enthusiastic otherworldliness, the action is teeming with lush, resplendent primaries.
Coming directly from a digital source, the freshly-minted transfer enjoys spot-on contrast, brightening every moment with vivid, brilliant whites. Brightness levels are also right on the money, showering the action with rich, raven blacks and velvety, midnight shadows, providing the 2.39:1 image with beautiful three-dimensional depth. That dazzling balance allows for some extraordinary clarity of the smallest objects and characters in the distance. The fine lines and stitching in some of the clothing are razor-sharp, Barley's van comes with unmistakable rust spots, tiny dents and minor scratches, and the individual hairs along The Manticore's face are strikingly detailed.
Overall, the HD presentation is simply stunning and sure to mesmerize everyone in the family. (Video Rating: 98/100)
The Pixar feature casts its magic with a spirited and passionate DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack, but in typical Disney fashion, this mythical creature has been tamed somewhat and not likely to rock the home theater. Nevertheless, it remains a great listen with plenty of background activity seamlessly bouncing between the three front channels while displaying crisp, clean clarity during the loudest segments and creating a spacious and highly-engaging soundstage. The music and mystical action also exhibit excellent definition and separation in the mid-range, and the vocals are regularly precise and very well-prioritized above the enchanting mayhem. The sides and rears are not employed very often and frankly, fail to generate an effective immersive experience, but on a few occasions, some atmospheric effects move into the surrounds and appreciably expand the soundfield. The same could be said of the low-end. While the mid-bass is punchy and efficient enough at providing a palpable weight to the action, it doesn't really dig as hard as the visuals would suggest or ever feel memorable. (Audio Rating: 80/100)
Demonstrating a clear mastery of their craft, Pixar Studios delivers another heartwarming, tear-jerking winner in Onward. Starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer, the fantasy adventure film about two brothers on a quest to spend a day with their deceased father offer a charming tale with plenty of visual delights, but it doesn't quite cast that magical spell expected of the usually reliable studio. The CG-animated flick crashes to Blu-ray with a stunning, reference-quality HD presentation and an excellent DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Featuring a decent collection of bonus material, the package nonetheless makes for a recommended watch the next family movie night.