Ian Lightfoot is an awkward, scrawny 16-year-old elf who wants to build courage and self-confidence. To accomplish that, he will become more like the dad he never knew. He was bold. He attracted attention. He was – in the words of a close friend – a “great guy.”
“I wish I’d met him,” Ian says.
Ian’s father grew sick and died before he was born. His older brother, Barley, has a handful of memories of their father. Ian, though, has none.
But then Ian’s mother gives the two boys a gift from their dad – a magical staff – that could help answer Ian’s questions. It even has a spell that could bring their father back for 24 hours. The spell, though, doesn’t go as planned. Their father returns, but only from the waste down. Instead of a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with his dad, Ian is left with a “half dad” who can’t talk. Still, Ian and Barley have a plan. They’ll go on a road trip in search of a “Phoenix Gem” – a unique crystal required to make the spell work. And if they can find it within 24 hours, Ian can finally have the son-to-father chat he’s always craved.
The new Disney/Pixar animated film Onward (PG) follows the adventures of Ian and Barley, two brothers who are opposite in nearly every way but team up for an extraordinary quest. It stars Tom Holland as Ian, Chris Pratt as Barley, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as their mom. The film is set in the suburban fantasy world city of Mushroomton and filled with elves, fairies and centaurs. Although their ancestors used magic, the citizens of this world don’t. They’ve replaced it with modern conveniences, and many of them no longer believe magic is real. (Their father, before he passed away, was an accountant.)
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