Sometimes I should think before I movie. Like if it’s nearly 10 years to the day since I lost my Daddy, I’m gonna go see a movie about some kids who just wanna spend one more day with theirs, maaaaaybe I should wait until I have a support system to come with me. Otherwise, I just end up being a snotty mess in the theater, trying to hide my tissues so it doesn’t look like I’m patient zero, and then I have to drive home with eyes full of tears. Not that those things wouldn’t have happened anyway, but somehow doing that with people around is better? I wouldn’t know. I’m an introvert with social anxiety.
Once long ago the world was magical, and it basically resembled a Dungeons and Dragons campaign (is that what you call it? I grew up during the Satanic Panic, so I wasn’t allowed to play). But overtime, people (by which I mean trolls and elves and such) stopped putting in the effort to learn how to wield their magical powers and instead chose the convenience of invention. Centuries later, a pair of elven brothers (Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) are gifted a magical staff by their late father and a spell to bring him back for 24 hours. Of course they’re out of practice (because they’ve never practiced) and the spell goes wrong, only being half completed (the spell and the dad). They must go on a quest to find a new McGuffin to complete the spell before it wears off.
Obviously I was a weepy mess throughout the whole thing. First off, Pixar. Second, dead dad stuff. I know what that feeling is, to want just one more day with him. Hell, earlier that week, I had a dream that we got to have one last movie night at home. Dream Daddy chose Deadpool 2. By the final act I was weeping uncontrollably into my cup that once held contraband hot chocolate.
There was one early scene where young Ian was playing a tape recording of his dad over and over. I’ve been there. My Daddy’s voice is still on our old answering machine, and only because I had the rare rebellion against his request for me to record it. I flat out refused. I just did not wanna say “Praise the Lord, this is…[generic phone message]…Jesus loves you and we do too”. Nope, wasn’t gonna do it. So Dad relented and recorded it himself. Mom and I spent so much time trying to figure out how to digitize that and save it. Every so often, I still get a panicked call from her thinking she’s erased it. Come to think of it, I’m not sure where I currently have that saved for myself. Really hoping it’s on one of those eternal drives of mine…
But let’s talk about this on the Pixar scale. For any other studio, this movie is great. By Pixar standards, it’s good, but it’s not quite up to snuff. But wait Dawn, didn’t you say you cried thru the whole thing? Isn’t that Pixar’s MO? Well they had an unfair advantage. If you really dig into it, this film was kinda simplistic. It didn’t have the layers or nuances that really hit you in your core.
I did really love the world building here. The mix of old fantasy in essentially today’s world looked really cool and had some great humor woven in. I don’t wanna spoil it with examples, but it truly makes this film unique
I also wanna take a second to call out Chris Pratt’s older brother character Barley. I absolutely adored him, but there was one trait in particular that I found very admirable. He’s the one who was obsessed with magic and the old world, but when it came time to actually practice magic, it was his little brother Ian who had the power. Ian who never gave a second thought to the subject or had any interest whatsoever. In any other story, you’d expect big bro would do the toxic thing of being jealous and upset and find it unfair. Not Barley though. He is beyond excited that his brother has this ability, and he jumps right in to teaching him everything he knows and sharing his passion. It’s beautiful to watch, and something kids need to see more in their films.
Onward – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/