Every Monday, I recommend a book, TV show, movie, podcast, comic, or video game that are related to sci-fi/fantasy in some way. My goal in doing this is to draw attention to some great works as well as some amazing indie content producers.
This week I am recommending Pixar's newest film, Onward.
In hindsight, I should have posted this last Monday on the heels of its opening weekend, even though I had already planned and drafted most of my Mark of the Conifer recommendation. Oh well.
The situation this movie is in is truly a tragedy as well, as the Covid outbreak has made going to see it not very feasible. Stay safe, be considerate to other people, and follow the advice of governments and health organizations. But I highly recommend seeing it when possible.
I'll admit, I was a little nervous going into this one. The last time Pixar had such a unique and amazing premise, it was entirely squandered (The Good Dinosaur). Fortunately, Onward, while not objectively the studio's best, did not waste its cool premise and was a very enjoyable ride. It is now my second favorite Pixar offering after Ratatouille.
Onward tells the story of a fantasy world where magic eventually went by the wayside to make room for modern conveniences. Why take the time to learn magic and conjure fire when you can just flip on a lightbulb? In true Pixar fashion, though, there is a strong human element to the story. The plot is set in motion when brothers Barley and Ian Lightfoot are gifted a magic staff from their deceased father and a spell that can bring him back for just a day.
There was a lot to like in this film. The concept of a Dungeons & Dragons-style roleplaying game that is historically accurate was hilariously great. They kind of present it as a combination of fantasy geeks and history buffs wanting to be as historically accurate as possible at Renaissance Fairs and reenactments. The characters are all developed and three-dimensional, with a special shout-out to their mom because she was awesome. The entire story felt like a fun D&D quest with a lot of heart.
The conclusion of the film was very good, both in how it handled the end of its protagonists' journey to reunite with their father and the survival of magic in this world.
I want more movies like this.