I saved money on my Vue Cinema tickets and now I feel EPIC! Sorry, channeling my inner ‘Moneysupermarket dude’. Seriously, though. Continuing on from addressing ‘high cinema trip expenses’ in my Frozen 2 review, I managed to get two tickets for £7 with my ‘My Vodafone’ offers. Why am I telling you this? Because I like to pass on money saving tips, when I come across them. Anyway, onwards (see what I did there)! Have a forgotten to mention that I’m an absolute fucking nerd? Well, in case you were in any doubt, I think this intro has proved that.
Was going to get tickets to see Onward for next Friday (6th March), as that was the advertised release date. However, looks like I could get tickets for the preview showings, which is what I did. Now, this film has an added bonus for ‘daughter’. She is a huge Tom Holland fan, so the fact that he voiced the lead character made her more excited for Onward than maybe some other films that are to be released this year from Disney.
‘Onward’ is based around Ian and his older brother, Barley. It is set in an alternate reality where mythological creatures (elves, centaurs, sprites, etc…) have essentially, over many centuries, had a technological revolution (much like humans did). This has resulted in them living very much like modern day humans do in the real world (cars, computers, mobile phones, etc…). Unfortunately, this has resulted in magic being left in the past. The film starts with Ian waking up on his 16th birthday. Ian is an elf that lives with his mum, his older brother Barley and their pet dragon. Ian’s dad, Will, died from a sudden illness when Ian’s mum was pregnant with him, so Ian never got to meet his dad. Ian and Barley’s mum tells them that their dad had left a package for them, that they weren’t allowed to open until they had both reached 16. When opened, the package is revealed to be a magical staff, with a spell attached that will bring their dad back to life for one day. This not only confirmed Barley’s theory that magic is still out there, but that their Dad had magic in him and was a wizard. The spell can only be performed by another with magic in them and with the aid of a phoenix stone in the top of the staff (which they also find in the package). Barley spends a long time trying to perform the spell, but to no avail. However, later on when Ian tries, the spell starts to work (proving that Ian has inherited magical powers from their father), but halfway through, the phoenix stone gets destroyed, leaving only the lower half of their dad’s body. Ian and Barley decide to go on an old-style quest to find another phoenix stone, to complete the spell in order to have their full dad back. Unfortunately, the spell will wear off at sunset the next day, so they have a time limit for the quest.
This film was superb. The characters were relatable and likeable. I laughed; I cried. ‘Daughter’ laughed; daughter cried. I really liked the fact that it seemed to be hinting that we rely so much on technology, when we have so many skills within ourselves that we have repressed over the years. Not ‘magic’ specifically, but certainly an inner voice (or gut) that will guide us to ultimately make the right decisions, rather than relying on what others have created to make those decisions for us. To be your true self, rather than changing to suit what society expects of us. It’s something that Disney has been telling us for years, within its film characters, which is maybe why these are principles that I personally hold so strongly (and try a raise my children to have too).
An issue that many brought up with Frozen 2, was that it shied away from revealing Elsa to be gay. However, there was a female police officer in Onward that referred to her girlfriend’s daughter. Officially, the first openly gay Disney character! That delighted my daughter and me (all progress is good progress, after all) and I’m sure it will have the same affect on many many other Disney fans. It’s been a long-time coming, but these things do ultimately take time. I did mention in my ‘Evolution of Feminism in Disney’ post, that I will be addressing Disney’s LGBTQ+ evolution in an upcoming post, so keep an eye out for that (but as a cis-het female, it may take some time to write, as I don’t want to come across as ignorant or unable to relate).
Anyway, again, I would highly recommend checking out Onward (especially if you are a fan of the mythical and magical).