Do you believe in magic? The creative minds at Pixar do, and they’re at it again with an enchanting new teaser trailer for their upcoming movie Onward. Starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer, the movie is set in a magical fantasy world that’s grown past its humble origins and into its own civilized suburban world.
The trailer opens with some gorgeously animated environments, as we see pegasi fly around and mermaids swim and jump through the water. But then the fantasy world modernizes, and we see airplanes and suburbs taking over the colorful mountains and lakes. It’s then that we’re introduced to Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland), a lanky elf teenager living in the suburban world of New Mushroomton. But even if it is close to everyday life as we know it, there are still elements of the fantastic here hidden in plain sights, like dragons being kept as pets and wild unicorns running feral in the streets, looking for trash cans to raid. Ian leaves his house and is picked up by his burly older brother Barley (Chris Pratt), who is eager to get started on a “quest,” which Ian seems quite unhappy about. The trailer ends with the two brothers riding in a grungy van down the road towards their quest, or as Ian puts it, their “really fast and strange errand.”
The movie also has a short plot synopsis that was released with the trailer:
Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new original feature film is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae—the team behind “Monsters University.”
So there’s a lot to be excited about with this news, but there’s also a bit to be cautious about. To start with though, let’s go over the good. The animation, like always, looks fantastic, and it’ll be really great to see Pixar animation depicting a fantasy world. One can argue that they did that with 2012’s Brave, but not only was that not really fantasy, what with it taking place in Scotland and not, say, Narnia, but it focused more on showcasing the actual real-life land as opposed to making their own new one. Also, they’ve chosen some great actors for this role. Most notably there’s Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, both fresh off of their Marvel roles and hopefully ready to give the movie their all. We know that Pratt can definitely bring it, as he’s done voice work before (like in the two Lego Movie installments), but Holland is still unknown. By the time of Onward’s release he will have been in two other voice roles though: Spies in Disguise and The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle, so we’ll know soon enough just how well he can act with his voice. And they also have Julia Louis-Dreyfus, doing her second Pixar film since 1998’s A Bug’s Life.
In addition to this, the movie looks to be a clever subversion of the fantasy genre. It’s taking place in a fantasy world, complete with elves and centaurs and trolls, but that world has evolved and grown to be much like our own, to the point where magic is nonexistent in this technologically advanced world. Watching our main characters go on a “quest” to see if there is still some magic left in the world not only makes for a great way to get everyone engaged in the fantasy world and how it works, but it serves as a nice parallel to our own, where many try to find that little bit of magic that’s out there somewhere, even amidst all of our TV shows and cell phones.
However, even though there’s promise in this premise and in what we’ve seen so far, that doesn’t mean that the movie is beyond scrutiny. The main issue that pops up to me is that the main duo behind Monsters University is directly behind this movie as well. Now, while it’s not necessarily a bad movie, Monsters University is still definitely one of Pixar’s weakest films, ahead of only a select few like Cars 3 and The Good Dinosaur, so having the same duo behind another movie means that it also has the capacity to be sub-par. Besides this, we still haven’t really seen that much of the movie. If more information and trailers come to light and show that the movie doesn’t actually hold that much interesting content, then we could very well have a stinker on our hands. Only time will tell on that point.
Despite this though, I’m still hopeful for Onward. While it may be unproven and we might not know that much about it yet, I think the concept is unique and has merit, I like the way the animation looks, and I’m a big fan of the voice cast (at least who’s been announced so far). Seeing Pixar take a stab at one of my favorite genres is going to get me into the theaters anyways, and I hope that they deliver a fun, clever, adventure-filled film. Onward is set to release on March 6, 2020.
What are your thoughts on Onward? Are you excited to see Pixar tackling this genre, or has their trailer left you feeling a little cold to the idea? Let us know by commenting on your thoughts and opinions below, and to stay up-to-date on all upcoming Onward news consider Subscribing by email.