Pixar and Disney Fly Forward with “Onward”

Ingrid Moises

zRelease date: March 6, 2020

Director: Dan Scanlon

Voices by: Tom Holland (Ian Lightfoot), Chris Pratt (Bradley Lightfoot), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Laurel Lightfoot), Octavia Spencer (The Manticore)

Our grade: A++

After decades of animation, Pixar and Disney have raised the bar for animated visual media in the 20th and 21st century. The films from these animation studios have shaped previous generations and those to come. While adapting to technology  and creating riveting story plots over the years, they have managed to create unforgettable films worth everyone’s time. Their newly released movie, “Onward,” is a superb representation of the growth of technology that conveys important messages to young children at the same time. The visual and auditory aspects of this film were exceptional. Pixar and Disney were able to put detail to every last strand of hair, every wheel on every car and every fiber of magic, all through a screen.

Ian and Barley Lightfoot are light blue colored elves living a normal life as teenagers with their mother, Laurel Lightfoot, in a town full of mythical creatures and magic. In their world, everything exists in different shapes and sizes- this is a world where centaurs can be police officers.

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Onward had such a compelling plot and was a beautiful representation of brotherhood. ”

— sophomore Mia Calderon

Barley is Ian’s fearless and reckless older brother. He always pushed Ian to be the best he could be since they were kids because Ian was usually more hesitant to take risks. When their father passed away, he left them with a gift, a gift that their mother was allowed to give them after they were both older than 16 years of age. What he left them with was the ability to revive him for a whole day. Barley, a history and magic geek, used his knowledge of magic and attempted to perform a spell in order to bring him back to life. However, he was not born with the gift of magic, Ian was.

“I love that they gave Ian the magic because it gave him such a good way to grow. He had to use magic in so many parts of the movie, and fearlessly too, so it made him like Barley. He went from a guy that could not invite classmates to a party, to using the strongest forms of magic,”sophomore Kylie Alvarez said.

Ian accidentally casts a spell incorrectly which leads them to only revive their father’s bottom half. The only way to fix this was to find a brand new Phoenix gem and cast the spell again. Barley uses his knowledge of a ‘based on true events’ game in order to try and find another gem. They visit the Manticore’s tavern for a map and use the most subtle of clues to start their journey. Ian finally uses his ‘heart’s fire’ and to get them out of danger using magic, which displays huge character development right at the beginning of the movie.

Barley and Ian had so many special moments on this quest and learned so many things that led to the greater lesson of the movie: brotherhood. Although Ian never got to meet his father, he had Barley to look out for him and care for him his whole life. Barley was able to get Ian to be his true and fearless self. This movie was supposed to depict the importance of brotherhood, to always care for what you have before you lose it, sacrifice and selflessness. They went through many obstacles and throughout many of them, they needed to trust one another. They also had to give up certain things to help get them out of tricky situations.

“They really put effort into showing how important Barley’s personality affected Ian. It showed the audience how important brotherhood is, especially because you usually grow up with your siblings closer than any other bond,” junior Jasmine Morales said.

“Onward” did not disappoint on any level. It kept viewers anxious, excited and teary-eyed. It was a funny, action filled crowd-pleaser that will be a classic in a couple of decades. Not only is it completely unique to other Disney and Pixar films, it also mixes modern day human life with a magical element. Since all of us are now stuck in quarantine, you should definitely go give it a watch on Disney+.