Home Onward

Onward (U)

Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer
Genre: Comedy
Author(s): Jason Headley, Dan Scanlon, Keith Bunin
Director: Dan Scanlon
Release Date: 06/03/2020
Running Time: 114mins
Country: US
Year: 2020

Ian Lightfoot and his older brother Barley live in New Mushroomton with their mother Laurel many years after ancient magic and spellcasting have died out. The boys' father lost his battle to cancer before Ian was born and when Barley was too young to remember. When Ian turns 16, the boys receive a magician's staff, a glittering Phoenix Gem and instructions for an incantation that will supposedly reanimate their father for one whole day. The spellcasting doesn't go entirely to plan.


 

LondonNet Film Review
Onward (U)

True magic is the invisible bond between family and friends, which inspires courage, daring and self-sacrifice, in Disney Pixar’s life-affirming tale of two siblings who repair their strained relationship on an epic quest of self-discovery. Inspired by the childhood loss of director Dan Scanlon, Onward is an unabashedly heartfelt valentine to brotherly love set in a fantastical world, which has gradually surrendered ancient tradition to the steady onslaught of technological invention and convenience. Electric light bulbs have replaced the need for wizards to illuminate homes with wands, fire-breathing dragons are reduced to household pets, stray unicorns forage for scraps in dustbins and centaur police travel by car rather than relying on their clattering hooves…

Barley Lightfoot (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) in Onward, directed by Dan Scanlon. Photo: courtesy Disney Pixar. Copyright: 2020 Disney Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Scanlon’s script, co-written by Jason Headley and Keith Bunin, trades predominantly in goofy humour, concealing the inevitable knockout blows in a final act that will have grown men weeping uncontrollably in the dark. Compared to Disney Pixar’s recent offerings Coco and Toy Story 4, Onward feels emotionally lightweight and lacks some of the verve and wildly imaginative flourishes we have come to expect from the California-based animation house. However, the film towers above the best efforts of many rival studios and is utterly ruthless when it comes to targeting leaky tear ducts.

Painfully shy, self-doubting teenager Ian Lightfoot (voiced by Tom Holland) and his older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) live in New Mushroomton with their mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) many years after ancient magic has been forgotten. The boys’ father Wilden (Kyle Bornheimer) lost his battle to serious illness before Ian was born and when Barley was just a wee elfling. “When your Dad got sick, he fought so hard because he wanted to meet you,” Laurel reassures Ian.

The boys’ emotional connection to their old man is kindled by photographs and a cassette recording of his voice. When Ian turns 16, Laurel retrieves a rope-bound bundle from the loft. Inside, the siblings discover a wizard’s staff, a glittering Phoenix Gem and instructions for an incantation to reanimate their father for one day. The spell casting goes awry and Ian and Barley have 24 precious hours to locate another Phoenix Gem to conjure the man whose love brought them into the world.

Onward balances eye-popping visuals with sincere sentiment, alternating between heart and head as Holland and Pratt bring to life their seemingly mismatched kin. Action set-pieces are orchestrated with typical aplomb – a motorcycle chase is frenetically paced and punctuated with booming belly laughs – but Scanlon’s film leaves its indelible mark with rich, nuanced characterisation. “You have to take risks in life to have an adventure,” professes Octavia Spencer’s manticore restaurant owner. Scanlon’s picture largely plays safe but still delivers a rollicking romp to delight the whole family.

– Sam Cannon

 


London Cinemas Showing Onward


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To: Thursday 9th July

Genesis Cinema

Sat 12:20; Sun 10:40 13:10; Mon 12:15; Tue 12:30; Wed 12:00; Thu 12:35

Odeon Luxe Lee Valley

Tue-Thu 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00

From: Friday 10th July
To: Thursday 16th July

Genesis Cinema

Fri/Tue-Thu 13:00 15:30; Sat 11:30 14:00 15:30; Sun 11:00 13:30 15:30; Mon 13:45 15:30

Odeon Greenwich

Mon-Thu 15:45 (Mon-Wed) 17:45

Odeon Luxe Lee Valley

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Odeon Luxe Leicester Square

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Odeon Streatham

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Odeon Surrey Quays

Mon-Thu 16:30 (Mon) 17:30

Odeon Wimbledon

Mon-Thu 15:45 17:45

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Onward


From: Friday 3rd July
To: Thursday 9th July

Dome Cinema

Mon/Wed 14:45; Tue/Thu 13:10

Everyman Barnet

Tue 15:45; Wed 15:15

Everyman Chelmsford

Tue 16:40; Wed 15:45

Odeon Bournemouth BH2

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Odeon Epsom

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Odeon Luxe Birmingham Broadway Plaza

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Odeon Luxe Durham

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Odeon Luxe Warrington

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Odeon Milton Keynes Stadium

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Odeon Norwich

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Odeon Port Solent

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Odeon Trafford Centre

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The Arc Cinema

Sat-Thu 12:00 14:40

From: Friday 10th July
To: Thursday 16th July

Central Cinema

Fri-Sun 13:10

Dome Cinema

Fri/Mon/Wed 14:20 16:45; Sat/Sun 12:05 15:40; Tue 15:30 16:55; Thu 17:35

Everyman Barnet

Sat 14:00; Sun 13:30; Tue 15:45

Everyman Chelmsford

Sat 14:00; Sun 13:00; Mon/Tue 15:30

Everyman Esher

Fri 14:30; Sat 14:00; Tue 16:00; Thu 15:15

Everyman Gerrards Cross

Sat 12:30; Sun 14:30; Thu 15:00

Everyman Harrogate

Sat 13:30; Tue 15:45; Thu 16:15

Everyman Horsham

Fri/Thu 16:00; Sun 13:00

Everyman Leeds

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Everyman Oxted

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Everyman Stratford-Upon-Avon

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Odeon Blackpool

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