By Rachel Byrd, News Desk Lead
Visual By: Mackenzie Ek
Disney-Pixar’s Onward, which saw its cinematic release this weekend, is an entertaining suburban fantasy that harkens back to tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons.
Onward follows two brothers, the nervous Ian Lightfoot and the boisterous Barley Lightfoot, who, after being left a wizard’s staff and a letter from their long-deceased father, set out on a quest to bring their dad back from the dead for twenty-four hours.
Ian and Barley’s mother Laurel, voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, goes on a journey of her own as she follows her boys, trying to piece together what they are doing. Laurel is joined by a manticore named Corey, voiced by Olivia Spencer, an adventurer who forgot to tell the Lightfoot brothers about a danger which they will face at the end of their journey.
Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, who voice Ian and Barley respectively, make a good team portraying a realistic dynamic between two brothers. Having previously worked together in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, the actors also bring strong performances separately. Their father, who spends most of the film as a pair of legs, is still an incredibly present figure in the film despite a minimal speaking role.
The writing quality of Onward is strong and tightly plotted, with a satisfactory ending that builds on the film’s themes of growing up, letting go and familial love. Although parts of the film suffer from feeling formulaic, there are several twists and turns that will truly surprise audiences. Fans of fantasy novels, films, and games will appreciate the film’s homages to the genre’s tropes and characters, ranging from entire settings to details within the animation.
On the whole, Onward is an entertaining journey. As a fan of the fantasy genre, I loved seeing the story elements I’m fond of transplanted into a suburban setting. The bond between the two Lightfoot brothers and the journey they take together is humorous and moving.