O for Onward

The moral of the story is to read the instructions carefully before casting a spell.


You’d think that because of the diverse species in this movie they would adjust utilities to suit them better, but no, they don’t.

Kinou Louis-Charles, Staff Writer

Disney and Pixar are known to team up and make engaging movies that even some adults can’t resist. This year Onward, a movie about a teen elf finding his identity alongside his eccentric brother, was released on Disney+ for streamers to watch. As a Disney fanatic and someone in a desperate search for something to watch, I figured I’d give it a try and, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. Pixar and Disney have given us other iconic movies such as Toy StoryThe Incredibles, and Finding Nemo but I felt that Onward wasn’t going to make that top tier as those other movies did. Yet, due to the current circumstances of being in a pandemic, I watched anyway and here was what I thought. Warning: spoilers may lie ahead.


At the beginning of the movie we see how the world used to be filled with magic and other wonders, but it slowly died out because people found ways to make life easier. I felt this was commentary on how as a society we sometimes opt out of the path with the greater reward because the other path was quicker. I enjoyed how the creators of this movie try to teach their focus group audience that sometimes the shortest road isn’t always the right one. Another interesting point made in this movie is how when you don’t learn your history you can incidentally lose a part of who you are, which is a deep message hidden beneath whimsical characters and an intriguing plotline.  Finally, the parallel between our world and the world of Onward where magic is no more made me feel that how we live is completely boring; why can’t we have wizards, fairies, and pet dragons, just why!

After I got over the fact that my dreams of having a dragon named the Lizard of Oz would most likely not come true, I came to admire and laugh at some moments in the movie. The brotherhood between Barley and Ian was endearing and when Ian realized that Barley was a father figure to him all along, I was touched. Also, something about Ian’s fear was very funny and relatable, if I had to step out to a Bottomless gorge with no bridge, I would be scared too. Then a scene I just had to nod at was when Barley sent his beloved van off to be destroyed for the greater good, a powerful scene and we must have a moment of silence for Barley’s van.

Okay, silence over; let’s talk about what I was not a fan of in this movie. For starters, I did not agree with Disney/Pixar trying to portray Barley as more of a “screw-up” than anyone else in the movie. If anything, Barley was more enlightened than everyone else because he knew his history. If I’m being honest, Barley carried the movie, and everyone was just struggling to keep up. Another thing that had me a little upset (Furious) was when we finally get to see Ian and Barley’s father, but Ian never technically meets him. The whole movie was driven on Ian getting to meet his dad for the first time and when the time finally came, I assume the creators of this movie searched for a way for it to not happen. I understand that this was supposed to be an “it’s about the journey not the destination” type of film but, I still would have liked Ian to see his dad instead of literally being barricading away from him, not cool Disney, not cool.

My final thoughts of this movie are that I can admit when I was wrong, Disney and Pixar came to serve us with another heart-touching movie that was undeniably cute. I hope when people see it they are inspired to welcome a little magic into their lives in their metaphorical ways. It’s all about us moving onward.