A new Disney/Pixar film is heading to the theatres this week, and we were thrilled to be invited to be among the first people to see it and share our thoughts with you! ONWARD, features the voice talents of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland as polar opposite brothers, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as their mom and Octavia Spencer as a manticore restaurant owner/curse killer, so we knew it was bound to be full of laughs.
In a world full of elves, pet dragons and biker pixies you’d probably expect to see quite a bit of magic. But this suburban fantasy world has long ago forgotten their magical ways. Magic was an art, a dedication, a gift. It wasn’t easy to learn. And so, when scientific discoveries like the light bulb showed an easier way to do things, many turned towards convenience and technology advancements. And so, magic slowly became forgotten. So much so that no one, well no one but Barley, believes in it anymore. Current day New Mushroomton looks a lot like our life today. Smartphones, fast food places, high school.
Our lead characters, Barley and little brother Ian could not be more different. Barley, loud and outgoing, risk taking and magic believing in contrast to Ian’s shy, socially awkward, anxious and rooted in reality self, er…elf. On Ian’s 16th birthday after receiving a strange gift from his deceased father that his mother had hidden away until both boys were over 16, they were given a way to see their father one last time, for a full day.
Finding the will and a little magic within him, Ian is able to bring back his dad…well, his bottom half anyway. With his dream of meeting his father, who died before he was born, only half fulfilled, the brother’s set out on a road trip to find the gem that will allow them to complete the spell, and their dad. Oh, and did we mention they only have 24 hours to do it? No pressure.
In true Disney Pixar fashion, Onward had a ton of comedic moments, many that literally made me gasp, and a few that made us cry. There is a moment towards the end where Barley shares with Ian his last memory of his dad before he died; being too scared to go in and say goodbye. For us personally, having recently lost someone who we had visited in ICU, this was a very emotional part of the movie, and many a sniffle was heard from throughout the theatre. While it wouldn’t be a Disney Pixar movie if I didn’t cry at some point, I wanted to include this as a bit of a content warning for families who may have had a similar experience. This may be an unexpected emotional moment that may trigger some littles and adults alike.
It certainly tugs a bit more at my heart strings that the movie is based on writer/director Dan Scanlon’s experience growing up and losing his own father. When I say it took us on an unexpected journey, it’s more of a wave of working through becoming an adult and managing levels of grief while also reconnecting with those closest to you.
Overall, Onward was a movie full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, magic and mystery, just like an epic quest should be. Now, put it to O for Onward! Opens March 5th, 2020 nationwide.