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Movie Review: Pixar's 'Onward'

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It's pretty rare that I get to see a film on release day, but I was lucky enough to see 'Onward' immediately when it hit theaters. I'm always a little skeptical about Disney animation, because I'm not really in their target demo anymore, despite being a lifetime Disney fan and a former cast member. But this time, I'm pleased to say that 'Onward' is charming, funny, heartwarming, and a little bit nerdy. Spoilers ahead!

'Onward' follows the story of Ian Lightfoot, a shy and unsure elf, and his older brother, Barley. The two live in a magical world that has forsaken magic in favor of the convenience store of technology. The boys' father, who tragically passed away just before Ian's birth, knew this, and secretly studied the ways of magic, a trait which Barley shares through his obsession with a role playing game much like Dungeons & Dragons. But on Ian's 16th birthday, their mother presents them with a gift from their departed father: a magical staff and instructions for a 'visitation spell' that will allow dad to visit the boys for one day. But when the spell fails, leaving the body only half visible, Ian and Barley embark on a magical quest to bring the other half of their father back.

The film deals in typical lighthearted humor you might expect from a Pixar film (including some hilarious gelatinous cube jokes), but tackles some very serious issues. Identity, facing fears, and parental loss are explored in a twisting tale that flouts the unexpected. All in all, I'd definitely make this one part of my collection, and I'd recommend you do, too!

Photo: Anthony Quintano/ Flickr