Disney Pixar’s Onward showcases brotherly love


Yasemin Ragland

COVID-19 limited the time Onward was in theaters. However, viewers can now catch the latest Pixar film on Disney+.

Yasemin Ragland, Staff Writer

Disney Pixar’s Onward (rated PG) starting streaming on Disney+ on April 3. Onward was only in theaters for two weeks, beginning on March 6, but didn’t have a good opening weekend because of COVID-19.

The film follows a fantasy story world where mythical creatures live in the modern day. In the beginning, the fantasy world is full of wonder. It is adventurous, exciting, and best of all, there is magic. And that magic helps all in need. But it is not easy to master. And so the world finds a simpler way to get by and over time, magic fades away. This backstory sets up hilarious montages and gaffs that audiences are sure to enjoy.

Two elf brothers, Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt) and his younger brother Ian (Tom Holland) receive a wizard staff from their deceased father as a present for Ian’s 16th birthday. The gift, a gem, allows the user to bring someone back from the dead for one day. When the spell only brings back the bottom half of Wilden, their dad, they go on a quest to find another gem so they can bring the other half back.

Ian and Barley leave to go on their quest to find another gem so they can finish the spell, with only 24 hours before their dad is gone again. Laurel, their mom, comes into Ian’s room to find a note saying he and Barley will be back with a surprise. Laurel also finds two of Barley’s role-playing game cards, one with a picture of a Phoenix Gem and the other with a picture of the Manticore (a part lion, part scorpion, with bat wings), who they  go to for help on finding the location of a Phoenix Gem. Laurel then gets in her car and goes after her beloved sons, trying to bring them back home. 

Throughout the film, Barley/Ian and Laurel/Manticore work together as two separate teams. One highlight is when the two brothers and their dad’s torso enter a cave and use a Cheeto as a boat to float down a river inside it. They have several close calls, such as being chased by a Gelatinous Cube, and Ian using a levitation spell on Barley to float him over a chasm full of spikes to get away from the Gelatinous Cube. They manage to escape into a small chamber, where Ian uses the family pet dragon, Blazey’s leash to pull their dad’s torso into the chamber before the Gelatinous Cube can get to him. The chamber rapidly starts filling up with water, so Ian uses the leash to get their dad’s torso underwater to push a button at the bottom of the chamber. The top of the chamber opens into a little pocket and Barley quickly throws Ian out into the pocket so he can breathe first, then surfaces  himself, which shows how much he cares about his little brother.

The second highlight is when they emerge from the pocket and find themselves back in their town, in front of Ian’s high school. Both are confused and Ian gets mad at Barley for leading him on a wild goose chase. Ian walks off with their dad’s torso and Barley goes back to the fountain he was trying to protect earlier. Barley climbs into the fountain and starts searching in it, causing the construction workers to drag him away. Barley escapes their grip and runs back to the fountain, he climbs and stays there.

Meanwhile, Ian is looking at a list he made for things he wanted to do with their dad’s torso. He then slowly realizes that Barley has always been there for him and goes back with their dad’s torso to Barley. Barley finds the Phoenix Gem in a compartment on top of the fountain. Ian comes back and the curse is activated, causing a dragon to form out of Ian’s school building as its face. Ian tries to battle the dragon to distract it, while Barley uses the gem to complete the spell (Ian tells Barley that he (Barley) should be the one to see their dad, because he remembers him). The Manticore and the boys’ mom finally catch up and join the battle. 

In the end, Barley and their dad end up proud of the elf that Ian has become and magic returns to the world, with Ian educating his classmates about it. I love that Ian spends most of it trying to bring back his father for one whole day, even though he’s never met him, only to realize that his older brother has been a sort of father figure to him his whole life. It shows the importance of family, like other Disney classics, including Frozen and Lilo & Stitch. Pratt and  Holland make a great comedic duo, making you wish that they had more screen time together in their Marvel films. 

Overall, Onward is a B+ film with a good lesson to learn: if you have a good relationship with your siblings, you should always be there for each other no matter what. While not quite a classic, you will still end up watching Onward again and again as you find more gags on repeat viewings.

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