Disney•Pixar’s ONWARD Review: “Speak from Your Heart’s Fire”

Disney/Pixar’s ONWARD is a story about a two very different brothers and their quest to find their father, who died before the younger brother was born. Intrigued? You should be. And it’s a Pixar movie, so bring tissues. Keep reading for my spoiler-free review.


ONWARD opens on a flashback to when the world was full of magic, fairytale and mythical creatures, and wizards. It’s a wonderful introduction to the characters in the present world of ONWARD, who are the fairytale and mythical creatures of yore, but without the wizards. Magic has left the world.

Barley and Ian Lightfoot are elves and the sons of widow Laurel Lightfoot and Wilden Lightfoot who died before Ian was born. On Ian’s 16th birthday, Laurel gives Ian and Barley a package that their father had left for them. In it, they find a link to him through magic. They each try to cast the spell with limited success.

Barley has been obsessed with magic all his life and tells Ian they have to go on a quest to complete the spell. The boys have different ways of looking at things and different reasons for being on the quest, but the same drive and desire to find the magic.


OH BROTHERS – Disney•Pixar’s ONWARD opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Though both brothers are on the quest, it is presented as Ian’s story and Ian’s journey through it is transformative and touching. Barley, the big brother, makes his own transformation, finding the magic he has instinctively known he needs. Just a little magic can change the world, if you let it.


BAD DRAGON – Disney•Pixar’s ONWARD opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I didn’t know what to expect from ONWARD. I knew there was a quest and assumed it would be funny. I should have expected it to be touching, because it is a Pixar movie, but I was surprised by how deeply each of the brothers moved me.

ONWARD is an action movie, a family movie, and full of fun and charming characters and lots of love. There’s something for just about everyone, though younger children may not fully understand the story. For more family-friendly movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.


About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.