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This story contains spoilers about Onward**. If you don't want to know major plot points, please stop reading now.**
Onward originally hit theaters on March 6 -- just days before the coronavirus pandemic began to take root in the U.S. Since many fans likely didn’t get a chance to see the Pixar film before nationwide calls for social distancing, Disney has made it available on its streaming platform. And now that more parents are getting a chance to see it on Disney+, they’re realizing how emotionally devastating it is.
As is often the case, parents and fans began to weigh in on the movie on Twitter. One parent, who actually got to see Onward in theaters, was quick to recommend it:
Parents can definitely use all the help they can get to keep their kids occupied right now, and Onward’s early digital release means that we all get a break from Frozen 2. However, based on reactions rolling in from Twitter, Onward’s themes are hitting hard. Really hard. When word got around that the movie was hitting streaming platforms, one Twitter user offered a helpful heads up to parents:
And she’s really not kidding. Onward follows two teenage elves, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who use a magical staff to bring their father, Wilden, back to life for a single day. As can be expected in any Pixar film, things don’t go exactly to plan, and they end up on a pretty wild and dangerous adventure. In the end, Ian realizes that his older brother has been there for him in all the ways that Wilden couldn’t be, and the brothers are able to move forward with their lives after getting a chance to say goodbye to their father.
It’s an emotional film if you haven’t personally experienced the loss of a parent. After Onward hit Disney+, one parent on Twitter noted that it definitely tackles some themes that should be familiar to Disney fans:
Another parent, for whom this is definitely not the first dead parent Disney rodeo, sent out a call to fellow Twitter users asking if Onward would activate their, um, allergies:
The answers from those who’d already seen it made it clear he was gonna need some tissues but, despite the fact that it treads a somewhat familiar path, another parent was quick to note that Onward definitely hits differently:
It’s interesting to see that the consensus from some parents is that Onward is an especially emotional ride. While it received mostly positive reviews from critics, many commented that it didn’t quite have the same impact as some of Pixar’s other films. It’s hard to say whether this is a situation where fan response is a bit different, or if we’re all just feeling a little bit more vulnerable these days.
Have you watched Onward? Where did it rank on your Pixar cry-o-meter? Let us know in the comments.