Onward is a 2020 American computer-animated urban fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures. The film is directed by Dan Scanlon, produced by Kori Rae from a screenplay written by Scanlon, Jason Headley and Keith Bunin, and stars the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Ali Wong, Lena Waithe, Mel Rodriguez, Wilmer Valderrama, Tracey Ullman, Kyle Bornheimer, Dave Foley, George Psarras and John Ratzenberger.
It is scheduled to be released in the United States on March 6, 2020.
Set in a fantastical world, where the populace once had magic, two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, receive a wizard's staff as a prearranged gift from their father, who died before Ian was born and when Barley was too young to remember him. The staff came with a spell that will bring him back for only 24 hours, so his sons can meet him. Prompted by Barley, Ian uses the spell, only to end up with just his father's legs. This causes the brothers to go on a quest for a way to bring back the rest of their father before the time is up.
In a world inhabited by mythical creatures, magic is commonplace and its wielders are greatly respected. However, due to the difficulty of mastering it as well as technological advances over the years, the use of magic eventually becomes all but extinct.
In a time equivalent to the modern day in the town of New Mushroomton live two teenage elves: Iandore "Ian" Lightfoot, lacking in self-confidence for want of a father figure, and Barley Lightfoot, Ian's older brother and a passionate role-playing and historical fanatic who longs to go on a proper adventure.
On Ian's sixteenth birthday, he and Barley receive a gift from their father Wilden who died of a severe illness shortly before Ian's birth: a magical staff, alongside a letter, a rare phoenix gem, and a guide to a "visitation spell" that can resurrect Wilden for a single day. Barley attempts to incant the spell to no avail, but Ian succeeds in doing so later that night. Due to Barley's interference, the spell is interrupted and only the lower half of Wilden's body is physically reformed. Resolving to fix their mistake, the brothers leave on a quest to acquire another phoenix gem in order to reattempt the spell. Their mother Laurel finds the boys gone soon after and leaves to find them.
Ian and Barley's first stop is the Manticore's Tavern, named for and run by a fearless adventurer who possesses a map to a phoenix gem. The tavern has become a mundane family restaurant and the Manticore Corey is its uptight manager. In an argument with the boys over the map, Corey realizes what she's become and drives the customers out accidentally setting fire to the premises — and the map — in the process leaving the brothers with one clue on a kids' menu: Raven's Point.
Laurel later arrives at the scene and befriends Corey who becomes tamed. Corey warns the mother that the brothers' journey may lead to the awakening of a vicious beast, and that a special broadsword is needed.
Laurel and Corey head to a shop where the broadsword is stored. The storeowner Greckle is selling the sword for such a sum that Laurel can't afford. Although the mother states that it's an emergency, Greckle remains the same. Corey disables Greckle with her tail, before they take away the sword.
Ian and Barley head to a mountainous area and follow the directions pointed by the beaks of the bird statues which lead to an underground river. For several minutes, riding in the river is smooth until they are met by dangers like arrows and flooding.
After surviving the troubles in the underground river, Ian and Barley reach the surface which, to their surprise, is their hometown. Thinking that the journey is a wild goose chase, Ian vents frustration at Barley before walking away with their father. Barley, nontheless carries on in the mission before coming across an old fountain. Barley places a flower-shaped rock, which they found along the way, onto a hole in the fountain which fit perfectly. To the older brother's amazement, the gem they are looking for unravels which he takes causing a nearby dragon sculpture to come to life, which then starts wreaking havoc. Ian tries to fend off the sculpture with the staff, but the dragon is too strong.
Help, however, comes for the brothers when Laurel comes flying with Corey, and wielding the broadsword. After the mother and Ian impaled the sculpture twice, it explodes and is completely subdued. When the dust clears, Ian is trapped in rubble, but is able to see their father standing next to Barley yards away. Ian uses his magic to finally complete their father's body. Barley and the father have a brief chat. Barley and the father hug each other before the father fades into thin air. Although he never gets to meet his father face to face, Ian is contented that they get to be with him in the journey.
Ban and censorship
The film was banned in the Arab countries of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as one female cyclops police officer character in the film named Specter (voiced by Lena Waithe) briefly indicates that she is homosexual. The scene in question is a brief scene in which a centaur police officer character named Colt Bronco is lamenting about how Ian and Barley Lightfoot do not respect him as a father figure. Specter then replies to him by saying, "It's not easy being a new parent—my girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?" Homosexual acts are criminalized in these four aforementioned countries, which are predominantly Muslim, although Kuwait does not criminalize female homosexual acts. However, this ban is not universal, and the film has been screened in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Egypt.
In Russia, where the gay propaganda law officially criminalizes the dissemination of LGBT-related content to minors under 18, the Russian dub, handled by Disney Character Voices International, changed the line to "It's not easy being a new parent—my partner's daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?" instead. The Russian dub also avoided referring to Specter with gender-specific pronouns as well.
LGBT Cast & Crew
- Lena Waithe (Officer Specter)