Onward features a family of elves with who lost their father before their youngest son was born. Ian Lightfoot, voiced by Tom Holland, and older brother Barley, voiced by Chris Pratt, are two brothers who could not be more different. Single mom Laurel, voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, has done her best to raise them in little New Mushroomtown.
This is a world full of mythical creatures that have found a content life living without their gifts from nature. Magic has long been forgotten in favor of a more efficient and easier solution: Technology.
The film begins on Ian’s 16th birthday, when the viewer sees him living a life with which he’s not quite satisfied. His shy tendencies, and not to mention his embarrassing older brother, make it hard for him to feel accepted and comfortable at school.
Laurel reveals that their father had left behind a gift for the two sons, only to be given to them once they were both older than 16: A wizard’s staff, an enchanted stone and a spell to bring back their beloved dad for one whole day.
Ian turns out to have a natural talent at casting spells, and is able to bring back their father. Well, the lower half of him. With the enchanted stone destroyed, the boys must embark on a quest to find another stone in order to bring back the entirety father before time runs out. Barley, who has a passion for table-top magic games, Ian with the wizard’s staff, and the hilarious pair of legs that is their father head out on their journey in order to be back by tomorrow’s sunset.
Onward, produced by director Dan Scanlon, is inspired by how he felt when he and his brother lost their own father when they were younger. This personal touch is prevalent throughout the film, shown through the dedication and interactions between father and sons.
The film does an excellent job of portraying brotherhood. The damaged relationship with the two boys is slowly mended throughout the film due to their common goal. This relatable theme in the film brings it to life, and gives the audience an aspect of wonder as the movie ends.
Amid all the emotions and more serious moments in the film, the wandering pair of legs brings comic relief to several heavy moments, even helping to distract the brothers from their anger and fear.
Although this film was a joy to watch, there are few elements of surprise. A majority of the film is predictable, and so adults may not find the moments of risk to be as risky as the film is trying to portray them. This movie, compared to other Pixar movies, has a strange balance of adult and child themes. There are some more heavy aspects to it, as well as references to table-top games, but also included are more silly aspects that someone older may not enjoy.
Overall, Onward is a charming film full of relatable and empowering themes. It continues to live up to the Pixar standard, and will provide the audience with laughter, tears, and plenty of joyful moments.
Onward will premiere on Friday, March 6.
Photo provided by Pixar.