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Onward


(Written March 2020) These are strange times we're living in, with COVID-19 in its second week across the USA, theatres closed and families staying home together to flatten the curve.

It's also strange to see a huge budget Disney/Pixar film available on digital platforms just two weeks after it hit multiplexes, but with no theatres open to see it, ONWARD launched today for home viewing. Funny and touching, it made our Saturday night.

In a fantasy world that looks a lot like our own, but populated with elves, minotaurs, fairies and not a human in sight, everyone has mostly forgotten their magic powers and made due with modern conveniences.

Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland, our current Marvel Spiderman) is turning 16. A shy, quiet and awkward elf, he's the polar opposite of his brash older brother Barley (well voiced by Chris Pratt).

Ian's birthday gift from their Mom Laurel (Julia Louis Dreyfuss) promises to conjure up their Dad, who they lost when Ian was a baby, but he'll only return for 24 hours.

When the spell goes awry, only the bottom half of their Dad comes back and they're off on a quest to find the magic stone that will allow the rest of him to return.

As Pixar always does, they perfectly blend big laughs, physical comedy and action with some truly touching moments.

Our grandson saw it in theatres two weeks ago and loved it again, but warned Tamara and I we might cry at the end, "cause it's really sad".

The ending is powerful, especially if you've lost a parent. As in "Up and "Coco", the storytelling packs real emotional punch, regardless of the fact that you're watching animated characters.

The visuals are excellent throughout and the entire cast delivers. Octavia Spencer (the Shape of Water) is a Manticore who has hilariously mellowed her power for a theme restaurant and Mel Rodriguez (Little Miss Sunshine) scores big laughs as our resident minotaur policeman.

The previews for the film didn't do it justice, failing to convey the world that Pixar's created. Pratt and Holland are terrific together, bringing plenty of Starlord & Peter Parker magic into the fantasy setting.

The final 30 minutes is just about perfect, blending Indiana Jones style adventures while seeking the magic stone with heartfelt moments about the love of family.

ONWARD gets a really enjoyable A-.

Don't forget the Kleenex, Jonah was right!

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