Onward is exactly what I want in an animated movie. Honestly, it was just so uplifting and feel-good and lovely – and I cried so many times. Movies that move you because they’re so kind are truly wondrous creations.
The movie follows Ian and Barley Lightfoot, two elves in a world that’s modern but magical. Their father Wilden died when they were young and they’ve been raised by their mum Laurel. On Ian’s sixteenth birthday, she gifts him and his brother with something Wilden left behind for them once both are sixteen. It turns out to be a wizard’s staff and a spell for conjuring the dead for just one day.
Barley tries to bring their dad back but is unsuccessful. When Ian tries, he manages to bring back half of his dad before the gemstone in the staff explodes. Barley, who’s spent his life researching magical lore for games and quests, convinces Ian that they can find a replacement gemstone by following an old trail with a map. Unfortunately, after a series of mishaps, the only tools they have is a staff Ian can barely wield, a van that keeps breaking down, and a children’s menu puzzle adapted from a treasure map. It’s honestly cracking good fun!
At the same time the brothers are trying to finish the spell to bring back their dad, their poor mum is trying to track them down with the help of the Manticore, the harried restaurant owner whose business went up in flames after the brothers tried to take her map, and Colt, Laurel’s centaur police officer boyfriend. Their scenes are so funny, I couldn’t stop laughing.
What I loved most about this movie was the focus on sibling love and brotherhood. Ian and Barley are the most amazing duo and I adored how their relationship developed throughout the movie, how they worked together and supported each other, and how it all came together by the end. It was such a sweet, heartfelt, wonderful film. ♡