It’s been a banner year for animated feature projects with deeply bizarre, inexplicable premises. Earlier this year, the trailer for Spies in Disguise took everyone off guard with its Shyamalan-esque reveal that the espionage comedy is actually about a guy turning into a pigeon.
Now along comes the first tease for Pixar-Disney’s newest release Onward, which seems like a kid-friendly riff on Matt Groening’s series Disenchantment, likewise imagining a fantasy world governed by the same banality of our modern times. Except that the real action in this magically-ordinary universe concerns a pair of elves reanimating the spirit of their deceased father as a pair of sentient trousers.
The clip below walks us through the first act setup, and from there, we’re off and running: meek Ian and boisterous Barley Lightfoot (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) discover their late dad’s wizard staff, and recklessly decide to bring his departed spirit back to life. Except they foul up the spell and stop the regeneration process right around the beltline, sending the three of them on a wild adventure to acquire a torso through science or magic.
Their odyssey will take them through a world of wonder and broad comedy, complete with feral unicorns and Ye Olde 7-Eleven Stand-In convenience stores. Other voice talent on board for this momentous journey includes Julia Louis-Dreyfus (as the boys’ long-suffering mother) and Octavia Spencer (as whatever a Manracore might be).
Maybe it’s the less-than-hyperrealistic animation style, or the 3-in-the-morning-on-cup-eight-of-coffee vibe of the premise, but this feels out of joint with the recent Pixar originals. It seems to exchange the guileless sweetheart nature of Coco for something a little more smart-alecky, dare we say… DreamWorks-ish? Perish the thought.
Onward comes to theaters in the UK and US on 6 March, 2020.
Published 10 Oct 2019
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