Onward is a sweet and colorful adventure for the whole family, adding another worthy entry to the Pixar canon.
This movie was watched from the comfort of my home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay inside, stay healthy, and watch some movies. Sadly, Onward's box office failure was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in theaters around the globe being closed. However, do not let this stop you from watching the movie at home. Onward is available to rent or buy on VOD (including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and FandangoNow) and is streaming everywhere on Disney+.
Onward is a whimsical and superbly sewn together piece of gorgeous animation. Padded with funny and heartwarming charisma by its two leads (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), Pixar's newest mythical journey is here to stay. Our film follows a world inhabited by mythical creatures, where magic was commonplace many millennia ago. Yet, after the technology advanced over the centuries, magic became obsolete and was largely discarded among the creatures. Now, two teenage elven brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), get an unexpected chance to spend one more day with their late father, embarking them on a quest to bring him back for a moment in time. Holland is the voice of Ian Lightfoot, a shy and curious teenage elf who wants to make new friends and looks up to his late father, Wilden Lightfoot (voiced by Kyle Bornheimer). Holland gives Ian a tender heart with his lighthearted mannerisms and his bashfulness.
Pratt is the voice of Barley Lightfoot, a loud and proud teenage elf who's obsessed with mythical stories and the past times of society's old magic. Pratt's brash and comical mouth gives Barley a sense of adventure — pushing his younger brother to vast opportunities. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the voice of Laurel Lightfoot, a strong single mother trying to raise her two teenage elves. On Ian's 16th birthday, Laurel gives the brothers a gift from their father: a magical staff, a rare gem, and a letter describing a "visitation spell" that can resurrect their father for a single day. After reading the letter, Ian accidentally succeeds in casting the spell, but only the lower half of their father's body is reformed before the gem explodes. This discovery becomes an impromptu for the boys to embark on a quest to find another gem completing the transformation of their father. Onward may never rise to the same levels as other superior Pixar entries, nevertheless; the film is still able to stand on its own merits with witty humor, beautiful animation, and heartwarming storytelling.
Pixar also added the first openly LGBTQ character (voiced by Lena Waithe) to their magical movie. Waithe voices Officer Specter who represents a significant moment for Pixar, as she's the first animated character who, through dialogue, identifies as LGBTQ. It's a small but important part of the film. Director Dan Scanlon (2013's Monster's University) said, "It's a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world." After embarking on the extraordinary quest aboard Barley's epic van Guinevere, their journey is filled with magic spells, cryptic maps, difficult obstacles, and incredible discoveries. Yet, subsequently the boys' mom (Louis-Dreyfus) realizes her sons are missing, so she teams up with The Manticore (voiced by Octavia Spencer) and heads off to find them. Spencer's Manticore is a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, and a former warrior of the mythical world. Adventure is out there and that includes a magical staff and even a motorcycle gang of pixies. This one spellbinding day could mean more than Ian and Barley ever dreamt of, hugs and all. Onward will magically spark the joy inside you during these troubling times. You'll laugh and cry, cheering on our elven brothers.
Onward is rated PG (Parental Guidance) For action/peril and some mild thematic elements.
Directed by Dan Scanlon
Starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mel Rodriguez, Lena Waithe, Ali Wong, and John Ratzenberger.
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