Quests of Yore

Onward– This one was up my alley, as I tend to like fantasy and its accoutrements. It has an interesting premise, that a sword-and-sorcery kind of world developed modern technology and became one much like our own, except still inhabited by fantastic beings. There are a lot of fantasy series that have magic depart from the world at the end, but from what I’ve seen, they tend to have the creatures go with it. The protagonist is from a suburban family of elves who keep a pet dragon, and the widowed mother is dating a centaur cop.

Ian Lightfoot is a shy, awkward teenager, and his older brother Barley a reckless sort who’s obsessed with role-playing games and drives around in a clunky van he fixed up himself. On Ian’s sixteenth birthday, their mother Laurel reveals that her late husband, who died shortly before Ian was born, came up with a spell that would bring him back to life for one day. Something goes wrong with it, though, and only his lower half shows up. Ian and Barley go on a quest to find another rare Phoenix Gem to complete the process, with Barley turning out to be right that his favorite RPG is based on true history, and their dad’s lower half along for the ride. With some practice, Ian is able to cast the spells from the game, which is exactly what the Religious Right thought kids would do with Dungeons & Dragons in the real world. Along the way, Ian realizes that Barley, for all his irritating boisterousness, has fulfilled a lot of what he would have wanted from his father. There’s also a subplot that has Laurel traveling with a Manticore restauranteur voiced by Octavia Spencer to dispel the curse on the gem her children are seeking.

The climax is an epic battle with a dragon made up of pieces of buildings, a clever bit of animation.

In the end, the characters learn to embrace their magical natures while still maintaining their basic lifestyles. So the moral is that traditional family roles don’t necessarily have to be filled by specific people, and that magic is awesome. I can’t say I disagree. While I’m not good at predicting such things, I don’t really see this one going down as a classic Pixar film, but it’s definitely fun. By the way, I’ve read that some countries banned or changed the movie because of one line where a female cyclops mentions having a girlfriend, which I can’t say I even really noticed. Come to think of it, isn’t Chris Pratt, who voiced Barley, a member of a homophobic church?

This entry was posted in Cartoons, Families, Games, Magic, Monsters, Mythology, Prejudice, Relationships, Revisiting Disney, Technology, VoVat Goes to the Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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