Disney surprised us and released Onward directly to digital this week! It’s coming to Disney+ April 3rd. Pixar tells so many heartfelt stories that bring on the tears and Onward is the same. Onward tells the story of two brothers on a magical quest to spend some time with their Dad, who passed away several years ago.
***This post has spoilers*** Stop reading here if you don’t want to spoil the movie.
Life Lessons from Onward
Onward is set in a halfway magical time. The land used to be completely magical but as technology evolved, magic wasn’t needed as much. Like most Disney/Pixar movies, one of the parents is deceased. If you have a child that has experienced a death recently, this movie may trigger some feelings of loss.
Ian Lightfoot, an elf high-schooler lacking self-confidence, and his older brother Barley, a history and role-playing game fanatic, live in the city of New Mushroomton. Their father Wilden died shortly before Ian was born, and their mother Laurel has a new boyfriend, centaur police officer Colt Bronco.
Ian and his brother don’t really get along because Ian is more serious and kind of considered a nerd. He always does the right thing. His brother Barley is considered by most a screw up and irresponsible. The brothers don’t spend much time together so they don’t really know each other.
This movie offers so many life lessons regarding family and facing difficulties in life.
Accomplishing a Goal May Not Happen As We Expect
Ian wants a change when he turns 16. He writes a list of things that will be part of the “new Ian”. He puts things like speak up more, learn to drive, ask some classmates to a party, and to be more like his Dad who he learns was a bold, confident person.
He goes to school and unfortunately doesn’t speak up, fails the driving test, and feels awful by the end of the day.
By the end of the movie, he did accomplish all the items on his “new me” list but they happened because he was tested in ways where those skills were needed not simply wanted. When push comes to shove, he succeeded and that is all that really matters.
Sometimes What We Are Looking For is Right In Front of Us
After Ian halfway enacts the spell that brings the lower half of his father to life, he writes a list of things he wants to do with his father after him and brother get the crystal that will let him complete the spell. This list includes things like go for a walk, play catch, have a heart to heart talk, and a driving lesson. Typical things a boy would want to do with Dad.
The half-spell just allowed the bottom half of their father to appear, they went on a quest to find the crystal that would allow Ian to finish the spell and they have just 24 hours to do it. Near the end of the time, Ian realizes he is needed to save the day which entailed fighting a dragon and gives Barley the chance to spend the few precious moments with his father.
As Ian sadly crosses off items from his Father/Son time list, he makes a profound discovery. While he did not accomplish these tasks with his father, he did accomplish the tasks. During their quest, the brothers walked together, played catch, had a heart to heart talk, a driving lesson and more! He might not have his father, but he was a brother that has always been there for him.
It’s Never Too Late to Have an Adventure
The brothers were going on this quest and it was a dangerous one. Ian may have gained his safety-conscious spirit from his mother. But when the boys’ fearless mom Laurel realizes her sons are missing, she teams up with a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, former warrior – aka The Manticore and heads off to find them. She found the courage and the strength to do the impossible like fighting a dragon. A mother never knows how strong she can be until that’s her only option.
Magic Has Place in the World
In a place where magic was forgotten, the magic returned and the citizens created a happy balance. In my world, magic means imagination without limits, forever family memories, and happy thoughts make darkness disappear. This magic doesn’t happen when we are glued to our phones, televisions, or computers. Magic happens at the dinner table, outside running in the sprinkler, or even spring cleaning with the family.
I just love that Disney movies always have something for us to make our lives better. What did you think about Onward? Let me know in the comments.
Onward Printable Activities
Here are some printable coloring pages and activities for kids. I have also included a movie study printable that kids to apply some deeper thinking skills. Enjoy!
Click Here to View/Download Onward Printable Activities: These activities include a Printable Memory Game, a Maze, and character coloring pages.
Click here to Download the Onward Movie Study: This Onward movie gives kids a chance to breakdown some elements of the movie and then make some real-life comparisons.
Looking for more Onward Fun?