Ian is an anxious, shy, newly 16-year-old who’s constantly making lists. Older brother Barley drives a personalized van named Genevieve and plays Dungeons and Dragons. 

The uncertain Ian and fearless Barley are given a present from their deceased father: the chance to bring their father back to life with a staff and gem. 

The mom, Ian and their pet dragon watch Barley try to cast the spell with an ancient staff. He can’t. The family gives up leaving Ian’s room to finish preparing for an otherwise uneventful birthday. 

Once alone, Ian begins the spell and his dad starts appearing. 

Brown shoes, purple socks, jeans, and a belt appeared. That’s it. 

The inability to speak leaves lower-half dad perplexed until Barley and his father exchange a pattern using their feet. This familiar nonverbal communication relaxes the three elves. 

Ian never spoke with his dad. He died before Ian was born. 

Barley had an opportunity to say good-bye and couldn’t. Barley concludes what the three must do - go on a quest!

The three have 24 hours to find a gem, cast a spell and find the upper half of their dad. 

Using a dog retractor to guide their dad, the three encounter a manticore, a gang of pixies riding motorcycles, police officers and a curse unknown to them. 

The exploration of self-worth, giving up possessions and facing their mom’s boyfriend, a police officer centaur, humanizes this movie. 

The dad oozes character even without his upper half. Restrained with a dog retractor, dancing to Barley’s music, nearly flying out a window leaves him to be one of the best characters. His voice is through his actions. 

This must-see animation carries a message for everyone. The desire to speak with a dead loved one may become truth. Watch if Ian and Barley can speak with their dad for the first time and last. 

“Onward” is available on Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, iTunes and on Blu-Ray/DVD.