It is hard to believe that Toy Story burst on to our screens 25 years ago, changing animation forever. While equally embedding the wonderful worlds created by Pixar into our collective conciousness. However, as time has passed has the magic of Pixar slowly diminished? And can Pixar still find original stories that engage and inspire new generations of children and adults alike? Well based on their first original story since the emotionally complex delights of Coco, the answer is a resounding yes. As the magical world of Onward explores core themes of grief, male relationships and brotherhood. In a colourful fantasy world that is both accessible and entertaining.
Many have claimed that Onward opts for safe Pixar territory rather than pushing the boundaries of the studio’s work. However, this simplistic view does not take into account the complexity of the themes sitting at the heart of Pixar’s latest film. A film that provides a truly heartfelt exploration of male emotion, companionship and fatherhood. While wrapping these themes in a Spielberg inspired adventure.
Set in a fantasy world that has long forgotten the magic of its past. The suburban streets of New Mushroomton reflect our own cosmopolitan and commercially driven world. As unicorns, elves and pixies have succumb to the modern trappings of tech driven society; Middle Earth transformed into a McDonalds fuelled modern world. It is here that we meet two elf brothers, the insecure and tender Ian (Tom Holland) and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt). Both boys raised by their mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) after the death of their father from an illness before Ian was born.
As Ian reaches his 16th birthday, Laurel gives the boys a mysterious present left by their dad. A relic of the past in the form of a wizard’s staff, and a rare phoenix gem. Alongside a hand written spell that if correctly delivered can bring their dad back from the dead for just 24 hours. However, when both boys attempt the spell it backfires, with only the legs of their dad becoming visible. Leading them on a quest to find a second Phoenix gem that can bring back his top half before the sun goes down.
Director: Dan Scanlon