Disney-Pixar’s Onward

Movie Review From Before Covid-19 Shut Down the World

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The movie poster for Disney-Pixar’s Onward.

Liana Brooks, Staff Writer

Backstory: I saw Onward in a theater on March 10, 2020 and wrote this review the following day, just before we were dismissed from school for the rest of the year. I haven’t been back to the movies since. Due to Covid and school closures my review was never published, but because Onward is such an incredible, heartwarming film (it’s been nominated for an Oscar!), I still want to share my thoughts. I hope you enjoy!

Disney-Pixar’s Onward is a new movie that came out on March 6th, 2020. According to Rotten Tomatoes, this movie is about a suburban fantasy world and introduces two teen elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to find a spell to bring back their deceased father.

Dan Scanlon directed the film and Kori Rae produced. (Scanlon directed Monsters University. Rae produced Monsters University, The Incredibles, and Up). In an interview, Scanlon described his personal connection with Onward. When Scanlon was one and his brother was three, their father passed away. They did not remember their father, so growing up they asked the people around them who he was and if they acted anything like him. These questions are what became Onward. There are two elf brothers in the film named Ian and Barley Lightfoot. Ian, voiced by Tom Holland, is a sweet and determined 16-year-old with the best of intentions, but his lack of confidence and nervous energy trips him up more often than not. Ian is convinced that if only he had his father’s guidance, his life wouldn’t be so complicated and messy. His older brother Barley, voiced by Chris Pratt, is a big, burly, boisterous 19-year-old elf who loves magic and immerses himself in fantasy role play. He’s a free spirit more passionate about the past than the present. He’ll fight to the death, so to speak, to preserve historical landmarks, but because he’s so focused on the past, he struggles to find success in the present.

Onward is heartwarming and funny in equal measure, and I cried in the beginning, the middle, and the end. The film made me think of stuff that my brother and I have gone through and touched me deeply. Children grades three and up should see the film, but parents shouldn’t expect children younger than that to understand its concept.

(SOME SPOILERS AHEAD) I researched Onward and found out it contains several Easter eggs. Here are some of my favorites:

Toy Story 4: A unicorn on a bouncy house at a carnival is the same unicorn on Barley’s van Guinevere in Onward.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Chris Pratt plays Star Lord (Peter Quill). Peter’s mom is dying but he is too scared to hold his mom’s hand for their last goodbye. In Onward, Barley is too scared to go into the hospital room to say his last goodbye to his father.

Inside Out: Riley had a jingle for a brand of gum stuck in her head. In Onward, one of the fairies raiding the gas station is holding a pack of the same gum—TripleDent.

If you enjoy animated films I recommend you watch Onward. It is a great film for all ages and you might even cry as much as I did.