Updated: Mar 12
Onward is the next magical and emotional tale created by Disney Pixar. It is enchanting from the very first second to the very last. This endearing story is set in a suburban world much like our own, but with the typical injection of imagination that we can expect and are accustomed to. Their modern world just has that little extra sparkle in it, in the form of elves, trolls and even the odd pet dragon. The hint is that their world is dominated by magic and I think we get it! Ian Lightfoot (Voiced by Tom Holland) is an elf struggling to fit in at school and wishing that he could have met his father, who died before he was born. He is awkward, geeky and a little bit of a coward but on his 16th birthday he and his older brother Barley (Voiced by Chris Pratt) are given a wizard's staff that will change everything. It comes complete with a spell to bring back their father for 24 hours. The spell goes wrong and they only bring back half of him forcing them to go on a quest like the days of old to retrieve another gem to perform the spell again.
Barley is obsessed with the fantasy role playing board game 'Quests of Yore' that he believes is historically accurate. He leads Ian on the quest with gusto. They meet The Manticore and a group of biker pixies all while being chased by a police force led by a centaur. The way that Dan Scanlon (Director) plays with the expectations we as an audience have of magical creatures and the reality of them in the film is amazing; from something as small as dog-like dragon pets to The Manticore, a fearsome creature and owner of a fantasy style eatery. It is original and fresh and plays into classical expectations for this genre of film all at the same time. It was a joy to see each manner in which monsters of old are adapted to modern day.
The story of the two brothers is made brilliant to watch through the voice acting of both Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Tom suits the shy character of Ian while Chris seems larger than life as the over the top and boisterous Barley. There seems to be a chemistry there that grows as the film continues, really suiting the story of the brothers who do not seem that close finding each other and discovering the strengths and weaknesses of each other. They bring great depth and emotion when it is needed, and Pratt delivers his lines with great comedic beats. They elevate the characters and their relationships into the stratosphere.
I loved this film an awful lot! The story that it tells is wonderful, two boys trying to be reunited with their father discover more about themselves and each other. A missing father and brotherly love narrative may not be original, but it has been taken in a new direction and is so emotional that it may just bring a tear to your eye! It may be aimed for children but there is more than enough in there for adults, Disney Pixar have once again nailed that fine balance between kid's film, emotion and action.