This is the second in my series pitting two Disney films against each other to see which one is “better.” For my second battle, I will be comparing two films from the Pixar studios. Remember, I will be using 5 criteria to determine the winner: protagonist, antagonist, supporting characters, music and memorable moments. Again, this is completely subjective.

Let’s get this battle underway: “Toy Story” vs. “Onward.”


Both of these films feature a pair of protagonists to move the plot along. In “Toy Story,” we have Woody the Cowboy; the original favorite toy of Andy; and Buzz Lightyear; whom Andy receives as a birthday present. There’s a battle for supremacy between the two, although Woody is responsible for most of the conflict, before they become friends. In “Onward,” we have a pair of brothers as the protagonists. Ian and Barley Lightfoot are elves who have the chance to bring back their father for a day. Woody and Buzz fight, get lost, get captured by Sid, escape and then get back to Andy before he moves away. Ian and Barley set out on their quest and encounter a manticore, pixies, police and a dragon. Both sets of protagonists do a lot along the way, so this is a lot closer category than I expected. In the end, Woody and Buzz are two of the most popular protagonists in the Disney canon, and probably the most popular protagonists in the Pixar canon. Point to “Toy Story.”

Toy Story 1 | Onward 0


The main antagonist in both of these films is time. Woody and Buzz have a limited amount of time before Andy leaves. Ian and Barley have a limited amount of time before their father disappears forever. But, time is an abstract concept, so I’m going to look at the more physical antagonists. In “Toy Story,” Sid is a boy who likes to play mix and match with toy parts and uses fireworks to destroy some of them. He’s definitely a major threat to any toy, but not to anything else. He’s kind of low stakes. The dragon in “Onward,” however, isn’t just threatening Ian and Barley. The dragon has the potential to destroy everyone and everything in its path. Simply put, a dragon is a more dangerous antagonists than a boy. Point to “Onward.”

Toy Story 1 | Onward 1


The entire “Toy Story” universe is littered with supporting characters. In the first film, we have Hamm, Rex, Slinky Dog, Mr. Potato Head, RC, Bo Peep, army men and many other toys from Andy’s room to Sid’s room. And, let’s not forget the aliens in the claw game at Pizza Planet. While in “Onward,” we have elves, centaurs, manticores, pixies and cyclops. The supporting characters in “Onward” definitely look cooler, but you’d be hard-pressed to find better known supporting characters than in “Toy Story.” Point to “Toy Story.”

Toy Story 2 | Onward 1


Almost everybody knows one song from “Toy Story.” Randy Newman’s classic rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” has been stuck in kids’ heads for years. There are two other songs with lyrics; “Strange Things” and “I Will Go Sailing No More;” both performed by Newman who wrote the soundtrack and the score. Meanwhile, a look at the “Onward” soundtrack features 45 songs, but only one with lyrics. The rest are a part of the score that complements the film well, but don’t stand out. Brandi Carlile performs “Carried Me With You,” but I don’t even remember the song. Point to “Toy Story.”

Toy Story 3 | Onward 1


“Toy Story” is filled with memorable moments. Buzz Lightyear’s first appearance, “To Infinity and Beyond,” “YOU ARE A TOY,” the claw, scaring Sid and the race to the moving truck all stick out. This movie from beginning to end is just plain memorable. In “Onward,” there’s the appearance of Dad’s legs, the Pixie biker gang and the battle with the dragon. That’s all I really remember about the film. I enjoyed watching it, but it doesn’t stand out the way other Pixar films do. By my count, “Toy Story” has a minimum of six memorable moments to three for “Onward.” Point to “Toy Story.”

Toy Story 4 | Onward 1

Calculating the results, “Toy Story” wins this battle 4 to 1. That’s about what I expected. I’m actually a little surprised this one wasn’t a clean sweep. But, what did you think? Which film would you say is better? Is it “Toy Story” or “Onward?”

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Jeremy Brown

Jeremy has been a big Disney fan since he was a kid growing up during the Disney Renaissance. One day he hopes to go to every Disney Park in the world.


  1. truthteller July 21, 2020

    Onward is evil illumani BS . Nobody should watch it, period.