This is going to make me choke up in the theater, isn’t it?
Okay, so, when the teaser trailer for Onward was released I was… skeptical. I’m personally not a fan of the whole ‘they’re monsters/mythical beings, but in the suburbs, living like modern humans!’ shtick. I like my fantasy, and stories about the world abandoning magic for modernity never quite ring true to me. Add to the fact that this is perhaps the biggest case of Pixar doing stunt casting since the first Toy Story, with the main characters being voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, and I wasn’t filled with confidence in the film. I’d still have seen it, of course, I’ve seen every Pixar movie in theaters except for the Cars sequels, but I figured my enjoyment would have to come from pretending the movie was just Spider-Man and Star-Lord playing some odd tabletop game.
But this trailer? This official, full trailer, has made me much more interested in the film. The premise is that two young elves are given a staff by their mother, left by their late father for use when they were both sixteen. The older of the pair, voiced by Pratt, realizes that it’s a magical staff and, more importantly, that it can be used to bring their father back from the dead for a day. The younger of the two, voiced by Holland, doesn’t remember their father and so while he’s skeptical about the whole thing at first, he jumps at the chance to bring their father back. Something goes wrong, however, and only their father’s legs are restored to the world of the living, the gem in the staff breaking to boot. And so the brothers must set out on a magical road trip to restore the staff and bring the rest of their father back.
The movie doesn’t look like it’s asking a lot from its cast. Holland is basically playing Peter Parker, and Pratt is basically playing Emmett from the LEGO Movie again. But the writing is fun, the emotions look heartfelt, and Pixar is always good at stories about characters going on quests. Many of their best movies revolve around a character leaving home to go do something emotionally important but out of their comfort zone. So while this film certainly doesn’t look groundbreaking, I am much more optimistic that we’ll get something good from the studio once more.