Set in a suburban fantasy world, 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. “At Pixar, we try to create stories that come from some kind of personal truth”, said Dan Scanlon (Director). “This film was inspired by my own relationship with my brother.” (synopsis via Pixar Post)
Tolkein went there, and went there brilliantly, and now Pixar is too, giving us what looks like, even from a teaser trailer, a story that wonders where the magic went.
Using the kind of efficiently-evocative exposition that only the best storytellers can manage, the first trailer for Onward reveals in poignantly-brief moments that magical creatures like unicorns, elves, mermaids and the like are not exactly living their best fantasy lives.
Pixar Oprah would, no doubt, be dismayed.
It’s funny in one way, but thoughtfully melancholic in another, a beautiful balance that illustrates that for all the blessing and advantaged of modernity, that a great deal has also been lost, something that director Dan Scanlon thinks will connect with audiences.
“I absolutely hope that people are laughing their heads off and crying their eyes out. My hope is some of the questions that I’m asking in the film will be questions other people are asking about their own lives.” (People Magazine via Pixar Post)
And it’s that lost magical wonder that two elf brothers, one more true believer than the other, are out to re-discover and bring back to a world that really, really seems to need it.
Onward releases 6 March 2020 UK and USA; Australian release dates TBA.