Monday, May 11, 2020

Onward: Imaginative Animated Story About Finding Hope in Lost Causes

Movie Review: Onward (2020)
Version: Disney+

My daughter and I have a very close connection, so when there's a movie about a child and a father, she is eager to see it. So it was when Onward released in theaters. Except that COVID-19 arrived and theaters closed, clamping shut our hopes of seeing it any time soon. Until Disney+, the new streaming service, offered it up recently. Yes! Our dashed hopes were saved.

And Onward was everything she hoped it would be. There isn't much of a part for the dad. He spends most of the animated film only half there, literally, because of a pause in a magic spell to bring him back to life after a long absence. But his two teen elven sons, Ian (voice of Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (voice of Chris Pratt), spend a good part of the movie in a long, wild chase scene trying to find one more crystal to complete the spell before time is up. Along the way they meet a menagerie of strange fantasy characters, many of whom don't fit stereotype -- which is part of the fun of this film -- to either help or hinder Ian and Barley from realizing their quest.

Ian is an introvert -- quiet and reserved. Barley is an extrovert -- boisterous and outgoing. Normally, never the two shall agree on anything. And thus the conflict ensues between them trying to bring back their dad. Ian has grown up not knowing his father, Barley grew up without his father's respect and guidance. The two have spent their lives fighting each other, under the watchful but helpless guidance of their mother Laurel (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus). What could possibly bring them together in their limited time to finally bring back their dad for one final joining?

In comes The Manticore (voice of Octavia Spencer), who holds the answer. And whatever amazing performances you have seen Ms Spencer put in as a live-action performer, wait till you hear her play The Manticore!

The animation is terrific, the characters are fun, and the story line is imaginative. There are lots of entertaining sight gags throughout, too. Just keep your eyes open! Onward is fun for the whole family. Especially kids who love their dads.

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