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Onward provides family-friendly entertainment, strengthened sibling bond

Disney Pixar film engages all ages, ending disappoints

[/media-credit] Pixar chose to mix elements of fantasy and modernization into the buildings of Onward.

From the minds that created Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and Toy Story, Disney Pixar released new animated film Onward onto Disney+, April 3. Disney originally planned to release Onward in theaters, however, the film was released on Disney+ due to COVID-19.

Onward, directed by Dan Scanlon, takes place in the once fanciful city of New Mushroomton. The land once held wizards that used their magic to help people, providing light to villages, aiding heroes on quests and entertaining the many magical creatures roaming the world.

However, magic began to pale in comparison to the introduction of modern technology. The infusion of contemporary inventions paved the way for the society that the movie displays: suburbs made of mushroom houses, unicorns diving into trash cans and small, domesticated dragons that display what happens when fairy-tale and modern life collide.

The story’s protagonists, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) Lightfoot, were not able to form a deep connection with their father before his death prior to the film’s plot. From what the movie relates to the viewers, he died of some sickness before Ian was born and when Barley was too young to have memories of him.

[/media-credit] Onward protagonists Ian and Barley Lightfoot embark on a quest to find a gemstone that would resurrect their father for one day.

After a disappointing start to his 16th birthday, Ian’s mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) gifts the brothers a wizard staff that had belonged to their father. With the staff, their father left a spell and a magical gem to bring him back from the dead for one day.

After several failed attempts, the brothers find that only Ian correctly uses the staff, though falters during the resurrection spell; he only succeeds in bringing back their father’s lower half. The gem breaks after the initial spell so Ian and Barley set out on a quest to obtain another gem to bring their dad fully back before the sun sets the next day.

The brothers set out to find Manticore (Octavia Spencer), an ancient creature who Barley said possesses a map to the gem they need to replace the broken one. Manticore, retired from quests, now works at an adventure- themed tavern where people come for karaoke and birthday parties. After Manticore refuses to help the brothers because of the danger of the quest, Ian swipes the map. In the chaos, the tavern burns down, resulting in the incident airing on the news. With the police out looking for Ian and Barley, the two adventurous elves must find the gem before time runs out.

The premise of the movie’s storyline mainly consists of “coming of age” and family themes. Throughout the movie, Ian lacks confidence and struggles to assert himself and make friends. He also views Barley as a “screw-up” (as do most of their neighbors).

[/media-credit] Throughout the course of the movie, Barley and Ian must learn to work together and trust each other.

Throughout the course of the movie, Ian must learn to act brave and trust his brother. Barley, on the other hand, must prove he is not a screw-up by finding the gem that would recover the pair’s father for a day.

This movie satisfied my criteria for a family movie. The story provided elements of humor and adventure, all wrapped up in an easy-to-understand storyline. I think Pixar created this to function as a movie which appeals to all ages.

I would recommend this movie to families on the lookout for a movie to watch together. However, I thought the ending of the movie needed improvement, as the storyline felt unresolved. I also thought that more character interaction was necessary because most of the movie consists of Ian and Barley’s solitary journey.

Onward reached 102.9 million dollars worldwide after four weeks. The movie appears on YouTube, Google PlayVudu and Amazon Prime for $4.99 and on Disney+ with a subscription.

For more reviews, read “The Mandalorian” captures audiences with action, lore and Disney Plus launches, provides streaming alternative.

Brayden Iest can be reached via Twitter and email.

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