Onward Film Review

Disney Pixar has released yet another heartwarming film all about family but this time with an exciting twist to the tale. Onward, released to theatres in February of last year, grossing USD 141.3 million lead screens with a magical twist to the 21st century. The film follows a magical realm in which technology takes over until brothers Ian (voiced by Tom Holland) and Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt) take on the task of resurrecting their father using the only thing their dad left them…magic.

(Brother Ian and Barley using the magic their Dad left for them)

When first watching Onward I had little to no idea what the film was about making the whole viewing experience more enjoyable. Whenever Disney and Pixar team to make a new film it rarely disappoints. I think there is always a high expectation for their films and they keep to that standard. With a key demographic being families and children, they manage to pretty much hit it out of the park every time with their motion pictures. 

The film is another strong story with a lot of emotion involved, with a widowed mother and two teenage boys who miss their dad. With this storyline, you already begin the film with that connection to all our main characters, as people can connect especially when it’s relatable for some homes. However, this emotional connection does not stop there when Ian and Barley find out they may have a chance of resurrecting their dad for one day only.

(Laurel Lightfoot ‘Mum’ voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ian Lightfoot voiced by Tom Holland and, Barley Lightfoot voiced by Chris Pratt)

The entire plot to the film is engaging, from the moment we understand the importance of the job at hand, which makes the film so exhilarating. The audience is so connected because you have this emotional connection already attached from the beginning which only deepens because we want these characters to reach their end goal so much. It’s a given how exciting the plot is but what I enjoy about it that differs from every Disney Pixar movie was that this wasn’t a fun film full stop, this emotional connection was never broken at any point. Much like Disney’s ‘Frozen’ many people including myself loved that this “love” that needed to be fulfilled which is crucial to the end of the film was not just the boring male-female romance but about the importance of the love for your family. 

One of the best features in this incredible animated movie is the use of magic and spells. The job the animators had of creating a completely new world, new magic and all having to connect and have a story of its own is challenging. When researching the animators and their work on the film I found, they wanted the spells to be abstract but also be personified as well as wanting the magic to be able to fit into the suburban setting. The animators also wanted the use of magic in this film to be unique and looked back at films including, Fantasia, Aladdin and Hercules to gain an understanding of how their magic would be portrayed. I must say the animators did a fantastic job of bringing the magic to life in the setting that they did, and as to not seem too far fetched and unrealistic instead it felt real and unique.

(The City of New Mushroomton)

My final thoughts, it’s hard to watch a Disney Pixar film and find any negatives, as they are purely made for enjoyment and suited to a younger age. Onward was the perfect mix of suburban meets magic and was so fun yet so emotional. The film keeps the audience at the edge of their seats in anticipation of what’s to happen next and with a surprise ending I’d heard some bad comments about I think it was a perfect end to the emotional rollercoaster. I truly enjoyed Onward and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys not only a Disney Pixar film but also who likes science fiction/fantasy films.    

By Kelda Storm

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