Pixar released its latest film, Onward, in early March. It follows two teenage elves, Ian and Barley, as they journey on a quest to find a Phoenix Gem that will help them perform a magic spell and bring back their dad for a whole day. If you haven’t seen it already, I’m sorry for the spoilers — but it’s just too good not to talk about it. This is seriously one of the best Pixar movies I’ve ever seen, and here’s why.
- Officer Spector
While Officer Spector may not be a huge part of the movie (as in, she isn’t a main character), she is most definitely an important one. This no-nonsense protector of the realm is the first openly gay Pixar character. In the film, she addresses the struggle of becoming a stepparent with Barley and Ian’s stepfather, Colt Bronco, saying how nervous she was with her girlfriend’s daughter. In a political climate like ours, representation is more important than ever. I know there’s still so much more progress to be made, but this is somewhere to start, and I’m all here for it.
- Remembering Your Roots
Throughout the film you find countless mythical creatures who have ‘forgotten’ who they really are. There are mermaids swimming in kiddie pools, pixies who don’t use their wings, and manticores who no longer give out magical quests. In the movie, this sudden forgotten magic came with the advancement of technology; the citizen of New Mushroomton forgot who they were meant to be and who their ancestors were. History buff Barley specifically makes it a point to emphasize the importance of remembering where you came from, and plays a role in returning magic to New Mushroomton.
- Barley Lightfoot
Barley is the big brother we all need in our lives, biological or not. I’ve never seen an older brother in a film be so caring, encouraging and supportive of their sibling. Throughout the whole film, there is not a single ounce of jealousy or deep-seeded hatred that comes from Barley. All he can be is proud of the person his little brother is, and I think that having someone like that in our lives is important.
I tried to save some special surprise moments for the theater, but trust me — this movie is definitely worth the watch. It even got my mom’s seal of approval. So, once the world calms down a bit, take someone you love to see Onward. You won’t regret it. But if you do, rewatch it and change your mind, please.