Movie Review, Onward


The main logo for Pixar’s Onward. Containing the two main characters: Ian Lightfoot (left) and Barley Lightfoot (right).

Story by Christian (CJ) Joseph Walden, Staff Writer

Pixar’s Onward was released early (March 6th) on Disney+ due the pandemic. The story entails two teenage brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who embark on a magical journey for the sole purpose of being able to resurrect their dead father for one day. 

Due Onward’s early release at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it earned $141.3 million, while the movie production itself cost approximately $175-$200 million. Most likely one of the main reasons for the extravagant pricing is the featuring of Tom Holland as Ian and Chris Pratt as Barley. Despite this, Onward was still the ninth highest grossing film of 2020.

Another way Onward has tried to earn money is by releasing merchandise ranging from clothes, toys, and even collectors items. 

Christian Walden’s collection of Onward funko pops.

Onward was given a rating of 88% from Rotten Tomatoes, a 7.4/10 by IMDb, and a 61% from Metacritic. Therefore, according to these critically acclaimed sources, Onward has an average rating of about a 74.3/100. Many sources and individuals argue over whether or not Pixar’s Onward contains the “Pixar Magic” that so many other of its movies does.

“I watched Onward because I saw it was coming free to Disney+, and with Pixar having a generally good track record for movies, I decided to watch it. I expected something similar to Inside Out; a good story with some flaws throughout the movie,” said junior Ethan Lubin. “Throughout the movie, one of my favorite scenes was the police encounter scene, where some of Ian’s darker truths were revealed to his brother by accident. This created great tension and a darker theme from this point. Watching Onward was generally a nice experience with the story having a unique spin on a traditional ‘buddy cop film.’ The ending tried to be very emotional, and generally succeeded, creating a tense, drawn out battle ending in a very sweet moment between the whole family.”


The story of Onward was very action packed, mystical, supernatural, and emotional. The story begins with the brothers wanting to see their dad for one last time. For Ian’s 16th birthday he is gifted a staff by his mother from his dead father. Ian’s brother Barley’s character draws from real world Dungeons & Dragons: an action packed mystical live-action roleplay game. Barley tells Ian that with the staff, the phoenix gem, and a magical spell they can bring back their father for 24 hours. 

At first, the spell does not work, but then Ian brings back his father to “50%.” Their father, Wilden Lightfoot, is just a pair of legs and feet. Barley, with his knowledge, figures out where they can find another phoenix gem to complete the ritual to see their father. The boys head out on their road-trip journey. The boys face many dangers and obstacles on the journey. At the end of the movie, after a long action scene and Ian being trapped in rubble, Ian decided to let Barley see their father and not him. Ian never really made many memories of his father when he was younger, but Barley did, which is why Ian made his choice. In the end the two brothers and their mother, who has been chasing them on their journey, bond together in a hug, Ian admitting that Barley has been his father figure.

In the end, Onward teaches the viewers a very important lesson: don’t chase after what you do not have, but appreciate what you do have. To not go chasing after your dead father, but to appreciate the father figure and brother you already have in your life. 

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