*Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” takes 0n tough topics for kids. It is the inspiring story of Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) seeking to have his invisible dead dad materialize before the sun rises.
And no, “Onward” isn’t the PG version of “The Invisible Man.”
Set in a suburban fantasy world, Ian and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt), both elves, set out on a sibling road trip with the gift their mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) gave them.
That present, left by their deceased father (Wilden Lightfoot), has the potential of bringing him back for one day. Something goes awry and the brothers must find the elusive old-time magic to make the enabling spell work.
Their magic has been disappearing from the world for years and nearly forgotten. Practicing magic has become difficult and they really had to practice it. As technology was introduced, everyone found easier ways to accomplish their tasks. Needless to say, everything does not go according to plan. Ian and Barley must race against the clock to fix the spell before so that the sons can fulfill their father’s wish and spend one last day with him.
In a world populated with elves, sprites, satyrs, cyclops, centaurs, gnomes and trolls, among other creatures from mythology, folklore, fables and fantasy fiction, real lessons are learned from the “Onward” characters. Lost, faith, and courage are addressed in “Onward,” while capturing the imagination of young and old. Magic is a metaphor for the brothers’ potential. In order to do magic, risks have to be taken. You have to also believe and trust in yourself.
The Manticore in “Onward,” voiced by Octavia Spencer, was once a fearless warrior and proprietor of a tavern that served as a waystation for travelers embarking on epic quests. Part lion, bat and scorpion, she has stepped up her game. As modern conveniences replaced magic and any need for quests, the Manticore tapped her practical side, transforming her tavern into a family-friendly restaurant with family-friendly games. Barley and Ian go to see her in order to get a map that will lead them to the Phoenix Gem—a second gem that will allow them to complete the spell to bring their dad back. On their quest, Ian and Barley encounter unexpected challenges that help them to grow and grow closer together.
Directed by Dan Scanlon, Lena Waithe, Mel Rodriguez, Kyle Bornheimer, and Ali Wong also lend their voices to “Onward.”
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