Animation Adventures

Magic Music and Family: The Impact of Onward

Onward: An Adventure Through a Magical World

Get ready for an adventure you won’t forget anytime soon! Onward is a 2020 American computer-animated urban fantasy movie produced by Pixar

Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, Onward is set in a world where mythical creatures such as elves, centaurs, unicorns, griffins, and dragons are commonplace – but without magic.

The story follows two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, on a quest to find a way to spend one more day with their deceased father.Onward takes the audience on a magical journey that explores the bonds of a family and what it truly means to be a hero. The movie presents a world that is quite familiar to ours while also being fantastical and extraordinary.

It teaches us lessons about grief, acceptance, and self-discovery wrapped up in the adventures of two brothers. Here is a breakdown of what to expect.


Onward opens with a flashback that explains how Ian and Barley lost their father, unbeknownst to Ian. The brothers both receive a gift from their father that contains a magical staff and a spell, which will conjure up their dad for 24 hours.

The catch – the spell only half-worked, or rather it only brought back their father’s lower half. Now, they must embark on a quest to find another Phoenix stone to complete the spell and get to be with their dad for one more day.

However, they only have 24 hours; otherwise, their father will disappear forever.


The main characters are Ian Lightfoot, voiced by Tom Holland, and his overbearing older brother, Barley Lightfoot, voiced by Chris Pratt. Ian is a shy and introverted teenage elf who is in dire need of an adult male figure in his life.

He is the one who is using the staff at first and has the chance to spend time with his father for the first time. Barley serves as the more outgoing brother and a believer in a mythical world, helping his younger brother to complete the quest.

In addition to the two brothers, we also meet Corey, a manticore voiced by Octavia Spencer, and Laurel Lightfoot, the boys’ mother voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.


The movie explores multiple themes throughout, but the primary arc is about the bond between two siblings and the importance of family. It encourages us to embrace who we are, even if we are flawed, and to be true to ourselves.

Onward also touches on themes like growing up, self-discovery, and atonement. The story instils that to build healthy relationships, one must have attributes of listening, being attentive, and accepting one’s imperfections.

The movie stresses that it’s essential to learn about different cultures to expand our perspectives, and not everything is depicted in black and white.


Onward is a fantastic story that will teach you things you never knew you needed to learn. It’s inclusive, funny, sad, and adventurous all at the same time.

It tugs at the heartstrings and reminds us of the power of stepping outside of our comfort zones. This film will leave you feeling appreciated and validated as you walk away with a twinge of sorrow of the ending to this grand adventure.

Watch Onward and be immersed in the magical world of Ian and Barley and everything in between. Onward: A Journey with Heart and Magic

Onward is not just another story where the heroes get everything they want in the end.

Instead, the movie is all about the journey itself and the emotions and challenges that come along the way. The film presents a unique and mystical world, providing an escape into a more magical and hopeful universe.

In this article, we will dive deep into the plot of Onward and discover the intricacies of the story.

Act 1

Act 1 opens with the audience being introduced to Ian, who wishes so desperately for a chance to spend one more day with his father. Ian seems helpless during this time and longs for a male role model in his life.

Barley, Ians older brother, is a fun-loving but slightly eccentric character who shares Ian’s desire to be with their father again. The opening sequence sets up the situation quickly, and we see Ian’s desperate need for a father figure and the devastating, albeit humorous consequences when the spell goes wrong.

Act 2

Act 2 builds on the groundwork laid down in

Act 1. The brothers know they need a second Phoenix Gem to complete the spell and get their father back in full form.

However, the gem is stolen, causing the brothers to have to put their quest on hold and embark on an adventure to track it down. The rest of the second act revolves around Ian and Barley on their journey with their not-so-helpful mom in tow.

They experience crazy, unexpected twists and turns, like escaping the clutches of a ferocious biker gang, solving dangerous puzzles, and fighting a curse. Along with these action-packed moments, we see the brother’s relationship starting to develop.

Ian, initially feeling alienated from his brother, learns to appreciate him in new ways as he guides him on their quest.

Act 3

Act 3 of the story is where everything comes together. Ian finally gets to spend the day with his father, but it’s not like he expected.

The two brothers are forced to work together and finally reveal to each other their inner vulnerabilities and childhood issues. It is then revealed that Barley was the one who really needed that extra day with their father, and it wasn’t only for himself but for Ian as well.

Ian, realizing this, sacrifices his chance to be with his father to save his brother and the world around them. This pivotal scene in the movie is emotional and heartfelt, providing a fitting end to Ian and Barleys journey.


Onward is more than a movie; it’s a set of lessons to learn from. One of the notable aspects of the film is the love of family.

The story not only raises awareness of the importance of family members supporting one another, but it also illuminates the essence of grieving and the role that memories play in healing and accepting. Throughout the story, we see the characters move from being self-centered and skeptical of each other to working together; this change is significant, as it shows the power of understanding and acceptance.

Another message of the story is being true to yourself and believing in what you love, even if it is different from what others accept. This aspect is represented by Barley, who may be a rambunctious loser in most people’s eyes, but his confidence and self-assurance are inspiring.


Onward is a beautifully crafted movie that touches hearts while entertaining with its stunning visuals and fantastic blend of action, humor, and emotion. The plot of the story takes the audience on an adventure, filled with unexpected detours, surprises, and life lessons.

The character arcs develop naturally, with elements of sadness and humor mixed together seamlessly. The themes are universal, and they encourage everyone to embrace their uniqueness and appreciate the people in their lives.

With these lessons in tow, Onward will forever reside in the audience’s hearts, reminding them of the power of love, family, and chasing after what you believe in. Onward: The Making of a Magical World

The creation of Onward was a result of Pixar

Animation Studios’ dedication to telling stories that are relatable and heartfelt, while also appealing to people of all ages with their beautiful animation style and robust storytelling.

In this article, we will dive into the making of the film and its production aspects that contributed to bringing the magical world and its inhabitants to life.


The story’s origin came from Dan Scanlon, one of the filmmakers, whose own father passed away when he was young. Dan expressed to the team his desire to create a movie that would introduce his late father to his younger brother, and thus the story of Onward was developed.

The movie’s complex narrative structure required the creative team to maintain an effort to keep the story focused across many different plot points and twists, and yet have it flow naturally. The result was a powerful tale that allowed its viewers to feel a range of emotions – making the characters and their journeys come to life.

Visual Design

Onward’s visual design was one of the most critical components of the film’s success. The Pixar team had to create unique characters and environments that still felt familiar to the audience.

Drawing inspiration from old-school Dungeons and Dragons” figures, the animators came up with the film’s visual style that would stun viewers with its intricate details and beautiful landscapes. The team also created the different creatures’ look and feel, including the half-man/half-goat satyr and the enthusiastic dragon Blazey.


Animation is at the heart of what Pixar does, and the team behind Onward ensured that the animation of the film was authentic, visually stunning, and visually captivating. The animators created the film using computer-generated imagery, and They used a technique called Ray Tracing.” This technique helped in creating photorealistic images and lifelike lighting that made the final output look stunning.

From creating unique textures to carefully coloring every single frame, the team’s attention to detail showed its commitment to creating a visually beautiful story.

Music and Sounds

The music and sound of Onward were also integral to the film’s storytelling. The original score was composed by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, who created music that was magical and haunting.

The score was infused with subtle thematic variations of the movie’s score, which created an emotional connection between the viewers and the movie.

Voice Acting

One of the most delightful aspects of the film is the voice acting. Voice acting is one critical aspect of the animation that can make or break a movie.

The actors in Onward brought their characters to life with their performances, adding an essential layer of depth to the characters. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt brought their distinctiveness to their characters, making them relatable and heartfelt.

Octavia Spencer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus also turn in excellent performances, making the supporting cast engaging.


The production processes behind Pixar’s Onward allowed the team to capture the attention of the audience. The unified vision of the film, its visual design, animation, music, sounds, and voice acting all came together to create a film that is magical, emotionally stirring, and entertaining.

The production team managed to keep a balance between the visuals and the story, making sure that the audience was engaged throughout the film. The creation of this magical realm with its mix of modern and old elements was no easy feat, but Pixar managed it without any trouble.

Onward will forever be remembered as one of Pixar’s finest productions – a film packed with a team’s hard work, dedication, and love for their work. Onward: A Box Office Success Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

The release of Onward was highly anticipated, engendering excitement among Pixar fans and movie-goers alike.

However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the film’s theater release was affected, changing the trajectory of the movie’s lifespan. In this article, we will discuss the release of Onward, how it faired at the box office, and its overall impact on the world.

Release Strategy

Onward was initially set to premiere in theaters on March 6, 2020. The film was given a wide release in more than 4,200 theatres across North America and 47 other countries.

The marketing team created numerous promotions to build buzz and excitement around the release.

Impact of COVID-19 on Release

Right after the release, with COVID-19-related widespread lockdowns and cinema closures, box office earnings dropped rapidly. The movie witnessed a dismal opening weekend, earning a mere $40 million in the US and $68 million internationally.

The decision was made to pull the film from theaters just two weeks after it was released due to the pandemic.

Streaming Release

Onward had the quickest move from theatrical release to its home video release on digital platforms, making its debut on streaming services on March 20, 2020, just two weeks after its release. Disney executives indicate the success of the early stream was what led to the release of several more blockbuster films under this streaming debut model in 2020 and 2021.

Box Office Numbers

Because of the pandemic, the earnings of Onward fell short of Pixar’s previous movies – bringing in only $103.2 million domestically – but still retained a four-star rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the low box office numbers, Onward still outperformed other movies released during the early stages of the pandemic.

Onward proved to be an excellent success story as it outperformed forecasts when it arrived on digital platforms, with analysts crediting the family-focused content, a fitting message for quarantined families, and Disney+’s strong streaming position.

Impact on Fans

Onward’s release came at a crucial time, with the pandemic upending normal life, especially for families, who watched together at home. The movie became a source of comfort and entertainment, reminding viewers of love and family during the perilous times of a pandemic.

The introduction of mythical creatures in an urban setting, coupled with the storyline, transported viewers to another realm, enabling them to escape from the real world, even for just two hours.


Onward will always be remembered as a movie that provided comfort and aid during the most unusual times. It proved that even though the pandemic hit the entertainment industry hard, people still craved the magic of film storytelling.

Onward’s release, while affected by the pandemic, demonstrated how an excellent product can still succeed by finding new ways to market, and soon became a polestar for releasing new films through streaming platforms. The film continues to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for the audience, reminding the viewers of the strength of family, perseverance, and love during tough times.

The Magical Soundtrack of Onward

Apart from the colorful visuals and the gripping narrative, Onward’s soundtrack also contributed to the film’s emotional impact and overall success. The film’s musical score was composed by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna, Canadian film composers who have won critical acclaim for their music composing abilities.

In this article, we will take a closer look at Onward’s soundtrack, its musical style, and the impact it had on the movie.

Origins of the Soundtrack

The Dannas, the composers of the soundtrack, knew their task ahead was not an easy task. They had to create music that could match or even surpass the impressive visuals of the film.

Dan Scanlon, the film’s director, approached the Dannas and shared the story of his father’s passing. This made the composers feel connected to the story and enabled them to create music that would resonate with the audience.

They took inspiration from Scottish folk music and incorporated the use of various ethnic instruments to give the soundtrack a unique flair.

Musical Style and Composition

The musical style of the soundtrack is a mix of traditional orchestral instruments with the additions of unique Scottish-like sounds to give the movie’s fantasy world a distinct sound. The composers experimented with various techniques to create quirky, playful sounds, such as using eggshells, bowed vibraphones, and various percussion elements.

They mentioned in interviews how creating a “fantasy” sound was the target, where instruments like bagpipes and Celtic harpways were included. The sounds Deanna brothers used helped in deepening the connection of the fantasy world to the audience, giving the film a unique dimension.

The Impact of the Soundtrack

Onward’s soundtrack reflects the essence of the movie by emphasizing its themes of family, relationships, and adventure. The music that runs through the movie successfully supports the aesthetic and theme of the film, heightening the emotional impact of certain scenes.

From the soaring violins to the playful jingle of bells, the music of Onward helped create an immersive experience for the audience – inciting in emotion, evoking nostalgia, and keeping them hooked throughout.

Notable Songs

The most notable song of the Onward soundtrack is Carried Me with You,” performed by Brandi Carlile. The track served as the triumphant farewell song to the father.

Other tracks include “The Great Manticore,” a heroic track matching both the enthusiasm and anger-driven paces shown in the film. Songs like “New Ian” and “Sightless Centaur” showcase the film’s understanding of emotional keys by aligning with the thoughts of the characters on the screen.


With Onward’s soundtrack, the Dannas managed to deliver a score that both supports and elevates the film, often stirring up emotions in viewers at crucial points throughout the journey of the two brothers. The music of Onward is delightful, inspiring, and evocative, infusing the movie with a sense of magic and wonder.

The soundtrack is yet another special aspect of the film, creating an everlasting impact on the audience and reminding them of the importance of good music in cinematic experiences. In conclusion, Onward is a magical story that resonates with audiences of all ages.

The film’s unique world, relatable characters, and captivating soundtrack deliver a powerful message of love, family, and perseverance. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the movie’s release and impact on viewers’ lives leave an ever-lasting mark in the entertainment industry.

Here are some FAQs that may answer some key topics and concerns of the readers:

– What is Onward about? Onward follows two elf brothers on a quest to spend one more day with their deceased father after their attempt to bring him back goes awry.

– What was the production process like for Onward? The production process involved creating a unique and magical visual design, mastering computer-generated imagery and animation techniques, and carefully selecting voice actors, sound, and music, all crucial components that contribute to the film’s success.

– How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect

Popular Posts