It's funny how a few years after the rise of "Shrek", Disney is still bringing us Onward To The Homesick. My daughter and I have been watching this film recently as we are watching it for the third time, so we're pretty good at it by now. We're excited to see what kind of reviews will be written about it, since we haven't heard much other than it's a good movie, and to get a copy from the library, at least.
While this movie certainly feels like the type that my wife would be expected to love, it's also my first attempt at writing about a children's movie and the first one for a definite middle child (we have three children, each with their own interests). As I've said before, it feels a little like every other onscreen depiction of what "childhood" is like.
This film does provide some great examples of animation - we've learned this in our literature classes as well. Most of these examples revolve around a stuffed animal, but Inward also has examples of clear cut dialogue, like when Gummy is telling his friends about his adventures or when a character says "Help me!" the moment he falls through the glass in the film's opening sequence.
The general story here, however, is an animated film. When you put a computer to animate a story, this isn't necessarily bad. You're drawing pictures and the kids can even participate in the creation of this movie, so there's a certain element of imagination that comes into play. Inward To The Homesick is unfortunately just a reproduction of that for kids, with very little imagination.
There's a sequel-ish story that's never really developed, but it is told through the eyes of a puppet, so it's definitely worth seeing if only for this. Kids who can't relate to any other stories in the series should be able to stick with the storyline of the movie and understand what's going on.
Aside from the story, this movie has some nice visuals, too. It's actually quite animated, with some truly wonderful images. It doesn't really look like they've done much of anything though - the scenes seem repetitive, and the characters could use some effortless and unique animation.
Overall, Onward To The Homesick is a really fun movie for kids and parents to watch together. However, it really is more of a film than a work of animation - it may be fine for older kids to sit through, but younger kids should keep looking elsewhere. And even if you consider this to be an animated film, it's still not that kid friendly, especially when the camera keeps pointing at the characters' eye level.
Overall, Onward To The Homesick looks great and is definitely a good introduction to the franchise, but with the amount of success that movies like Frozen and Up are having, parents should really look elsewhere. If you're looking for something to watch with your kids, look to Frozen - it's the latest addition to the trilogy.