Disney Pixar’s new movie Onward takes place in a fantasy world where magic is losing its popularity and being replaced by technology. It features an elf boy named Ian Lightfoot (voiced by Tom Holland), who receives a gift for his 16th birthday that will allow him to spend 24 hours with his deceased dad.
Born with magical capabilities, Ian performs a spell to bring back his dad, but things go amiss when he cannot control his powers and the crystal in his staff shatter. His dad returns but without a torso, head, or arms; he is just a pair of legs and feet that cannot talk or hear. Together, Ian and his brother, Barley Lightfoot (voiced by Chris Pratt), embark on an exciting journey in search of a new crystal to bring back the rest of their dad.
Like most Disney movies, Onward is family oriented, with this one specifically focusing on brotherly bonds. It is clear from the start that Barley and Ian are polar opposites, with Barley being loud and irresponsible and Ian being shy and anxious. It is a cliche story where the brothers are forced to learn and appreciate each other’s differences in order to achieve the same goal: finding the crystal and spending the remaining moments with their father.
Because the movie revolves around adventures and quests, there were many scenes where I was on the edge of my seat, wondering if the boys could get themselves out of tight situations alive or not. I was engaged throughout most of the movie, except for when Barley was being reckless. Throughout the film, he makes lots of impulsive gut-decisions which became annoying after a while. While he does redeem himself in the end, I found Barley to be very unlikable.
The movie stands out from others with its unique setting of a world that has deserted magic and instead adopted technology. It’s unheard-of environment is perhaps one of the movie’s only winning qualities, but personally, I think it could have been executed better. I did not find myself too captivated or intrigued in Onward’s fantasy world, because there were too many parallels between our modern world and the movie’s. While the similarities were probably intentional, more magic could have been added to make the atmosphere more enchanting.
Overall, Onward has all the elements of a good movie: funny, heartwarming, and adventurous. However, its overused story about coming-of-age and the bond between family is nothing special and sadly, makes the movie not worth watching.