The newest movie from Disney Pixar Studios, “Onward,” was released in theaters March 6. Just short of one month after its premiere — and due to the current global health crisis and closure of movie theaters across the nation — Disney uploaded the movie to its online streaming service, Disney+, April 3. “Onward” has a star-studded cast, including Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Octavia Spencer voicing some of the main characters of the film. The movie is a beautiful blend of magic and mundane and celebrates brotherhood in a heartwarming way.
“Onward” takes place in a fantasy world full of elves, centaurs, unicorns and other mythical creatures. Magic used to be the primary way of life, but their society has fallen to the convenience of technology; the magic faded away over the years. The story follows two elves who live in this fantasy world: Ian (voiced by Tom Holland) and his older brother, Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt), who receive a magical staff on Ian’s 16th birthday, which is meant to bring their father back from the dead for 24 hours. When Ian and Barley mess up the spell, they set out on a quest to right what went wrong and see their father.
Per Pixar standard, the movie is beautifully animated, and the story is well-written. While it’s not the best Pixar film I’ve seen (shoutout to “Inside Out” and “Ratatouille”), it is still a great movie and definitely worth watching. “Onward” has a lot to say about nontraditional families and gaining courage in the face of the unknown. Ian begins the story as a shy, unsure teenager, but along the quest, he finds his voice and learns to advocate for himself. Ian and Barley’s mother (voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) is a single mother who will sacrifice anything for her children — even befriending a mythical “Manticore” and learning how to yield a sword like the mighty warrior she is.
The animation seems to resemble that of both Disney’s “Zootopia” and Disney Pixar’s “Monsters University” as Pixar stitches together another new universe in beautiful blues and purples. With mushrooms for houses but gas stations on every corner, the blurred lines between magic and mundane are showcased once again.
One of my favorite aspects of the movie was Barley’s obsession with the card game “Quests of Lore.” The game is very reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), and he is obsessed with it like many D&D players are in the real world. With so many D&D groups popping up all around Harding’s campus, I found it entertaining to watch a little bit of that culture play out in “Onward.”
Overall, I loved “Onward” and everything it stands for. It’s a movie about adventure and family and looking around to see the blessings you already have. Stay in conduct with social distancing guidelines, but if you can, gather your family and watch this together. Your younger siblings will thank you.