Medieval magic goes modern in the latest animated film by Disney/Pixar studios. The film sees Tom Holland and Chris Pratt teaming up again to bring to life a truly fantastical adventure the whole family will love.
Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is a good kid, a shy kid, and the only thing he wishes for more than anything in the world is to meet his dad who passed away before he was born. Fortunately, his father left something of a present behind for him and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt), in the hopes of making that happen. On his sixteenth birthday, the elf brothers are given a wizard’s staff, kept safe and sound by their mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) all these years until the time is right. It seemed as though their father dabbled in the old magic of yore before he died and left behind a spell of his own creation with the staff. If performed correctly, the spell will bring back the brothers’ dad for twenty-four hours. Barley being his eager, excitable self, immediately goes about trying to conjure the spell, but only one with the gift to perform magic can do so— and as it turns out, that someone is Ian. Unfortunately, after trying to perform the spell for himself, the rare phoenix crystal inside the staff shatters and Ian and Barley are left with nothing but their dad’s legs. Determined to bring back what they’ve lost and make the memories they never had, Ian and Barley set off on a wild quest to find another phoenix crystal and bring back their dad—the rest of him, that is—before the sun sets the next day.
Upon learning of their disappearance, the boys’ mother races after them, with the help of the Manticore (Octavia Spencer), a fearsome creature of battle now-turned restaurant owner. For they must reach Ian and Barley in time to warn them of the curse that befalls anyone who dares to try to take the phoenix crystal from its hidden resting place.
Packed full of laughter and whimsicality, Onward tells the story of a land once touched by magic, a source of goodness mastered by few but there to help all who may need it, but has been forgotten in favour of technology and urban freedoms. The film follows two brothers who, despite believing they are more different than they are alike, realise that there is magic brimming all around— it can be found in the family you have, in places you never dreamed and in the courage we call upon, even if we’re afraid and don’t trust ourselves.
First and foremost, Onward is a beautiful story that showcases the strength between siblings, however messy and stubborn they may be. Tom Holland perfectly embodies the homely and endearingly awkward soul that is Ian, and Chris Pratt’s enthusiastic, all-out magic nerd Barley (perhaps a tad too enthusiastic, which certainly leads to a load of unexpected fun) make for a delightful pairing that is as entertaining to watch as it is a wonderful escape, especially now, when we could all do with a nice bit of magic to lift our spirits and fill us with joy. From the unpredictable places the brothers visit to the original soundtrack and all in between, Onward is a film everyone should see, if only to be reminded that, even if things aren’t ideal and you desperately wish for change or for something more, that though the world may be sad or mundane and the magic has seemingly faded away, “there’s a little magic left in you.”
Onward is now available to rent on VOD
by Kacy Hogg
Kacy is an English Lit student living in the Great White North (no not Winterfell unfortunately), Canada. Her favourite films include the Harry Potter series, Cinderella, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Hangover, and Lady Bird. She’s also an avid binge-watcher of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. You can follow her on Twitter here: @KacHogg95