Two elven brothers embark on a quest to revive magic and bring back their lost father in a new trailer for Onward, the upcoming animated feature from Pixar. It’s directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, the same creative team that gave us 2013’s Monsters University. So we’re probably in good hands.
The official synopsis for Onward is short and sweet: “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.” That world includes elves, trolls, mermaids, centaurs, fauns, gnomes, and plenty of other mystical creatures, all of whom have long since forsaken their magical roots, lured by the shiny new hotness of technology.
The first teaser dropped in May during the NBA Finals. It features charming suburban scenes depicting all the once-magical creatures going about their daily lives, much like suburban humans. (My favorites included gnome gardeners and a mermaid sipping a drink in her inflatable backyard pool.) And we meet the Lightfoot brothers, Ian (voiced by Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt), as they embark on what Barley considers to be a glorious quest. Ian insists it’s just “a really strange errand.”
Back in May, we didn’t get much information about that quest. Fortunately, this latest trailer sheds some light. We learn that Ian and Barley lost their accountant father years ago, and Ian has just turned 16. Their mother, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), tells them their father left something for the boys once they were both of age—and that age is 16. The gift turns out to be a magic wizard’s staff. Perhaps Dad was something more than a typical accountant.
Alas, working with magic when it’s been so long in disuse turns out to be tricky. Ian tries the spell to bring back their father and succeeds only in bringing back his bottom half. He and Barley have 24 hours to figure out how to complete the spell. And so they embark on their quest. I’m guessing there’s going to be obstacles in their path and plenty of learning opportunities along the way.
In other words, Onward looks to be standard Pixar fare, designed to tickle our nerdy fancies and provide plenty of laughs while also (probably) breaking our hearts and giving us ALL the feels in the end. Given Pixar’s stellar track record—even the company’s lesser films are pretty darn clever—odds are good they’ll pull it off yet again.
Onward hits theaters March 6, 2020.
Listing image by YouTube/Pixar