Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” is now in theaters nationwide. The movie shares the story of two brothers who embark on a quest to spend one more day with their deceased father. Set in New Mushroomton, a modern suburban fantasy world populated with a cast of mythical creatures, this film explores the themes of family and believing in yourself.
Ian Lightfoot, voiced by Tom Holland, is your typical awkward teenage elf who is not comfortable in his own skin yet. His older brother Barley Lightfoot, voiced by Chris Pratt, is fascinated with magic and role-playing fantasy games. Ian and Barley are what most would call typical brothers. They complement each other in terms of skills and outlooks. They squabble and fight with each other, but in the time of need they give their all for each other and to achieve their common goal, all be it in different manners on different paths. Their mother, Laurel Lightfoot – voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, is a hardworking single mom working to raise and protect her two boys. Their father, Wilden Lightfoot, passed away before Ian was born.
Magic was once prevalent and used in their world to help all in need. It was not easy to master the use of magic and as technology advanced magic faded away due to the simpler solutions. Wilden believed in magic and that is how he was going to see his family one last time. On Ian’s 16th birthday their mother give the boys a gift from their father. A magic staff, gem & spell that could be used to spend one day with him. The original spell only partially works and the boys need to complete the spell (and their father) before sunset the next day or their opportunity would be gone forever. The spell to bring Wilden back only manages to bring back his legs from the waist down.
As has been a hallmark in many Pixar film’s this one pushes the emotional envelope. This story was inspired by director Dan Scanlon’s relationship with his brother and his own life where his father passed away when he was one. It looks at the question many who have lost a close relative struggle with which is what would they do for one more day with them.
The supporting cast of characters provide levity to the film including unicorns that are most like raccoons in our world, a pet dragon, and a motorcycle club of Pixies are some of the colorful cast of citizens in the world.
I enjoyed spending some time in the world of Onward and seeing how the mythical/fantasy creatures interact with a modern feeling world. I thought that was an interesting twist. The story of two brothers having to work together will resonate with many who have siblings, myself included. I enjoy the lighthearted moments most in films and Onward delivers some through the colorful cast of characters and a “Weekend at Bernie’s” vibe to it with how Wilden is handled throughout most of the film.