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Movie Review: Onward

Movie Review: Onward

Every time a new Pixar movie trailer comes out, I look at it with a skeptical eye.  I never think it will be very good.  Then I am usually pleasantly surprised by the movie.  Will Pixar’s new movie, Onward continue the trend or will it flop in my book?  You can now stream it for free on Disney+.


(There will be major spoilers– be warned)
The world is full of magical creatures of sorts.  But this world no longer follows magic but technology.  Most of the world has forgotten about it.

On Ian’s 16th birthday, his mother gives him and his brother,Barley, a special gift from their dead father.  It was put away until both boys are over sixteen.  It is a magic staff, a phoenix gem, and a letter with a spell on it can help bring back their father for a day.  Barely was a young boy and Ian wasn’t born yet when he passed away from an illness.  The family are Elves.

Barley, who knows about magic and plays a role playing game, tries the staff and gem.  He is unable to get the magic to work.  They assume the staff and magic wasn’t going to work.  Later, when it is in Ian room, the magic comes to life.  Ian has the gift of magic that runs in the family.

Barley helps Ian with the spell on the later to bring back their father but it only brings half of him back, the bottom half.  Pants, legs, and feet can walk around and communicate by tapping his feet.  The spelled used up the phoenix gem. The spell is only good until sundown the next day.

Barley comes up with a crazy plan to go on a quest like in the old days.  He knows just the place to start, the Manticore’s Tavern.  This is the place most adventures started in the old days, at least according to Barley’s game.  Ian and Barley head off on an adventure and find the Manticore’s Tavern along with Corey the Manticore,  head of a person- the body of a lion -and the tail of a scorpion.  The Tavern has been changed to a family restaurant and Corey will not share the map with them because it would be dangerous.  This leads to a fire at the Tavern and the boys have a kid’s menu map to get them on their way.

Their mom comes looking for them.  She teams up with Corey to have their own adventures to find the boys.

The adventure continues with the boys and their father’s bottom half trying to find another gem.  It tests the brothers relationship as Ian learns more magic.

What I liked: (More Spoilers)
The characters are fun and compelling.  I completely relate to Barely.  The mom is awesome and a fun character.  Ian is a typical hero’s journey character but still great.

There are tons of fun side characters that we get to see and even develop.

This universe is a fun place to visit.  I loved magic creatures but they no longer believe in magic.  The unicorns are scary.


What I Did Not Like: (Spoilers)
The overall plot is pretty simple.  It doesn’t go away form the typical hero’s journey


This is a fun Pixar film.  It isn’t my favorite but definitely fun.  It would have done much better in theaters if it wasn’t for the Coronavirus epidemic. It was pleasantly surprisingly good as is my typical experience with Pixar films.

My Grade: B

Other Reviews
IMDB: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes: Audience: 95%
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics: 88%
Common Sense: 4 out of 5 Stars
Roger Ebert: 2 of  4 stars

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