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Exciting, adventurous, heartwarming, compelling and most of all finding dad in all of us, Disney/PIXAR crushes it again with Onward. It’s a tribute to fathers and brothers who have to take the role of the matriarch in the household everywhere. Growing up is hard enough, but with the absence of a father figure it makes it even more difficult. The story here shows how one fatherless family finds a way to bring hope, faith and trust in oneself even during the darkest times.


In Disney and Pixar’s “Onward,” brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) are given a special gift from their late father on Ian’s 16th birthday. Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Ian Lightfoot has finally reached the age of a man and on his 16th birthday has thoughts of what it would have been like to have grown up while his father was alive. His older brother had some years their dad, but when he died, Barley found himself at a loss and buried himself in another world of magic. He tried to be good a role model for Ian, but found it hard to be a convincing one. Both longing for a chance to be able to get what Ian sees his school mates take for granted, he downplays his special day. But, when mom presents a special magic staff to the boys as was instructed by their father when they both achieved adulthood, things take a strange path of adventure.

Director and co-screenwriter Dan Scanlon who wrote the screenplay for Monsters University, takes Onward by the tail and makes it an exciting family winner. The CGI animation makes things look real, the characters bold and imaginative and the magic amazing. From the road trip that includes a blast of motorcycling elf’s, and meeting Manticore to the challenges of a trail lined with danger, the brothers bring their half conjured up dad to a place where Barley thinks they can make him whole. Combined with the storyline that’s a very cool concept of bringing one’s dad back from the dead, as nonsensical as it may seem, to the medieval magic, Onward’s story works.

In Disney and Pixar’s “Onward,” the Manticore teams up with Laurel Lightfoot (Octavia Spencer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to find Ian and Barley and warn them of the danger that awaits them. Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Written into the script are a number of touching moments leading up to a heartwarming ending. The elements in the storyline can easily be imagined by girls and boys, and not only those that are living with a single parent. It shows the meaning of family in an exciting way as Ian and Barley risk their lives for even just one day with their dad. Even us older folks look back at our upbringing and can relate to the adventure.

The voice cast is amazing featuring Chris Pratt (Barley Lightfoot), Tom Holland (Ian), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Laurel “Mom”) and Octavia Spencer (Manticore) delivering an immense amount of dialogue with passion, enthusiasm and at times exhilarating. Pratt has the job of showing Barley’s younger brother how to cope with life. With Ian trying hard to fit in at school and dealing with a brother that’s out of control at times, he feels he’s losing the battle. Julia’s character mom, finds herself a little helpless with the two boys, but is hoping that now that Ian has come of age, things will calm down. The family unit has some tense moments until dad reaches out to the boys in a special way.

Bringing the excitement to a crescendo Octavia Spencer’s Manticore, a medieval beast that is part of Barley’s magic cards game, turns the adventure on its ear. Owner of a failing “Dave and Busters” type restaurant, she’s losing her purpose in life. But when she gets the opportunity to help the boys, she’s back! Pointing the way to their final destination, she forgets to tell them about the curse. When mom shows up at her restaurant, the two have to track the boys down to warn them.

When teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad, they embark on an extraordinary quest fraught with some of the most unexpected obstacles. Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Onward has been rated PG by the MPAA for action/peril and some mild thematic elements. It’s fun for the whole family, even dads and moms everywhere. You may want to be close to the younger immature tykes however, as Barley and Ian have to face the evil curse.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very cool adventure from Disney/PIXAR. (5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer
Directed and screenplay co-written by: Dan Scanlon
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family
MPAA Rating: PG for action/peril and some mild thematic elements
Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min.
Opening Date: March 6, 2020
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Pictures
Released in: Dolby Atmos, DTS, Real D 3D, IMAX

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