Pixar's "Onward" and the Magic of Original Ideas

Pixar is known for its heart-warming and impactful films such as Up or Finding Nemo, and Onward certainly does not dissappoint. But more than a new Pixar film, I was excited to see an original idea. Movies in recent history have all been sequels/prequels/spinoffs/reboots or book adaptions. Just last year Disney’s movie slate all fell into this category with live-action adaptions of Aladdin and The Lion King, Marvel sequels like Avengers: Endgame and Spider-man Far From Home, or animated sequels such as Toy Story 4. When faced with movies like this, films like Onward can be very fresh. 

Pixar’s Onward was released on March 6th, soon after which theaters started to close for quarantine, leading to Onward being available for streaming on Disney +. As I missed the chance to see this in theatres originally I was excited about the Disney + release. 

Onward is set in a hybrid world of modernization and fairy-tales where the magic of these mythological creatures looks to have faded. The centaurs now drive cars and mermaids sit in pools with their cell-phones. The movie centers on elf brothers Ian and Barley, played by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Their father died when they were young, with Ian never being able to meet him. On Ian’s 16th birthday they find out their father left a spell that allows him to meet him for one day. When the spell goes awry and they are left with just the legs of their father, they must go on an old-school magic quest to find the phoenix gem to bring him back before the end of the day. 

The world of the film is exciting and it is interesting to see how all of the mythical creatures and inducted into the modern world. The movie has the style of a classic fantasy adventure mixed with the brilliance of Pixar animation. The relationship between the brothers is at the core of the film and is its driving force. There is also a humorous element with them walking around with just the legs of their father for a good portion of the movie. Pratt does a great job as a college-aged older brother obsessed with magic and wanting to rediscover it in the world and Holland is lovable as the shy teen wanting to get out of his comfort zone. The relationship between them comes off as a realistic depiction of siblings with both the inherent support and the fighting included.

So if you are a fan of Pixar movies, and want to see something fun and uplifting during quarantine I would absolutely give this a watch. There’s never a dull moment and it keeps you engaged the whole time. You’ll enjoy the unique concept and magic that emanates from this movie.