Take an Adventure into a Suburban Fantasy World in “Onward”

Robert Timmler

“Onward” is the new Disney and Pixar animated family film about two teenage elf brothers, Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Ian (voiced by Tom Holland), who live in a fantasy world that over time is less magical due to new inventions that are easier alternatives than using magic. Both brothers lost their father to illness when they were young boys. Barley has some memories of his father, while Ian never got the chance to meet his father. On Ian’s 16th birthday, Ian’s and Barley’s mom Laurel (voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) gives them a magic staff from their father, along with a magic spell that will allow Ian and Barley to bring him back for one day only. Ian performed the spell, but he wasn’t strong enough to wield the staff and only brought back his father’s lower half. Therefore, Barley and Ian set out on a quest to find a phoenix gem to complete the spell that will bring back their father’s full body and then they can spend the rest of the day with him.

Onward is a humorous, touching and imaginative film that tells a loving story about brotherhood companionship. The film displays Barley’s and Ian’s personalities promptly, with Barley being brave and courageous, while Ian is nervous and apprehensive, so when they do go on their quest Ian has to conquer his fears and learn to be courageous with the support of Barley and the bottom half of his dad. Over the course of the quest, Ian’s and Barley’s bond is strengthened with each challenge they face together that teaches them a life lesson or helps them become a better version of themselves. The setting is creative and humorous with it being a fantasy world that became less magical. This led to clever satire and funny side characters like the Manticore (voiced by Octavia Spencer), a legendary warrior who retired and became a restraint manager. Chris Pratt and Tom Holland give great performances with their palpable chemistry that strengthens their characters’ brotherly dynamic. 

A Weakness of the film is that some of the jokes weren’t funny or timing of the joke was off.

“Onward” is a fun and heartwarming film that has some supreme emotional and comedic character moments that makes up the heart of this film. “Onward” gets a 9/10 stars.