11 March 2020

Another Drop Kick To The Heart

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Pixar films are great because you can take a first date to see one and if they're not in floods of tears by the end then you know they're likely to be a fucking sociopath and you're in danger. Not that I go on many dates, of course. The only chance I have to meet people is through Tinder and recently I've been left swiping on everyone like a motherfucker because I've started getting off on the idea of being the one that rejects them for a fucking change. So even though Pixar's latest Onward is quite clearly a children's film, I ended up going to see it alone. Which is fine. I'm aware that in a row of parent, child, parent, child, parent, child, me, that I must look like a nonce. But I also don't want people disturbing me when I'm at the cinema and so I'm quite happy to have children be told not to go near “the bad man”. Still. I probably shouldn't be getting my dick out even if it is just to maintain that illusion. I went into this movie pretty blind having avoided all trailers and reviews and so I wasn't sure what it was going to be about. As it turns out it's a fantasy film that takes place in a world that's relatably our own but where magic is treated as being part of the mundane. Imagine The Lord Of The Rings but if the Hobbits were stopping every few miles to brag about how many steps that their fucking Fitbits were up to. Or the Narnia movies if Edmond had to ram his fingers down his throat because he'd eaten too much Turkish Delight and his Instagram followers were commenting that he was becoming a fat prick.

This film focuses on two teenaged brother elves, Ian and Barley, voiced by Tom Holland who is brilliant and Chris Pratt who was presumably more available than Jack Black. Or maybe I'm being harsh? Chris Pratt's character believes in all of the farfetched stories that he's heard about the past and that most people dismiss as being bullshit, and so perhaps he's actually been perfectly cast here? ...Since finding out about Pratt's love of a silly homophobic God I've been a bit down on him. But I also read that in real life his father-in-law is Arnold Schwarzenegger and if I was spaffing up The Terminator's daughter I'd probably start praying too. He is still quite annoying though. Ian and Barley's story starts with them both having lost their own Dad at a very young age and wondering what life would have been like if he was still around. It's a heavy subject and one that I'm all too familiar with having experienced the death of my father at much too young an age too. Well. Maybe not 'death'. That's probably an exaggeration. My Dad isn't technically dead but I did find him fully dressed and asleep in bed at about four-thirty in the afternoon the other week and so I imagine he doesn't have much longer left in him. Ian and Barley's lives change forever when they find that their father has left them a very special gift... a magic staff. If my Dad leaves anything to me after he dies I doubt it'll be as exciting as that. Unless you find hereditary heart disease to be particularly exciting I suppose.

The two brothers decide to bring their father back to life with the spell allowing his return for a maximum duration of twenty-four hours. Having had his Dad die when he was too young to remember him, Ian is particularly anxious to get him back to start forming a few new happy memories. Although, he has a sense of loss and abandonment already, and so I'm not sure what more memories he thinks that he'll get from having a Dad? Unfortunately, the spell goes wrong and their father is only resurrected from the waist down. Like a 1970's glamour model he is literally all legs. So they might not have fully brought him back as they'd planned to but at least they can claim to have been the proud inventors of the 'travel-dick'. Of course, this wasn't their intention but at least they brought enough of their Dad's body back for their Mum to start creating a few new happy memories of her own. The brothers, therefore, decide to go on a 'quest' to retrieve an artefact that will allow them to complete the spell and get the rest of their Dad back for the day too. Barley is massively into a Dungeons And Dragons type card game and so a lot of the film is quite meta with him commenting on the tropes and cliches of the fantasy genre. I assume he's also an incel. I hate to judge a person based on their hobbies but I work for a company that sells these kinds of cards and I can confirm that virtually all of our customers do look like they're actual fucking paedophiles. I can't tell if Barley's skin here is blue because he's an elf or if the chronic blue-ball that I have no doubt he's suffering from has just started to spread to the rest of his fucking body.

So the two brothers take the legs with them on their adventure. I don't know why? Can they not trust their Mum with them? She's going out with a centaur now and so after shagging a man whose lower half is a horse I'd be surprised if their Dad would even touch the sides. Of course, the legs end up being responsible for a lot of slapstick humour and it's incredible how Pixar can create so many touching moments with just one pair of limbs. But the boys have these legs for twenty-four hours. I spent the movie wondering when it was going to need to do a shit and how they were going to deal with that. I won't ruin the end but just know that any sentiment here was slightly tainted for me by the fact that Ian and Barley's dead fathers bottom half would definitely have to have soiled itself within this allotted period. The film's synopsis claims that “two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there”. Is wiping your own Dads arse considered magic now? Because as an only child I have nobody to pass that responsibility on to and I'm currently struggling to convince my own parents into agreeing to let me hold a pillow over their face when it comes to it. Regardless the film, therefore, follows the traditional structure of a quest movie in which the characters go on a journey only to return as different people and with a more experienced outlook on life. It's not about gaining something new but about seeing what you already have with a fresh pair of eyes. Kind of like the time I visited Toxteth only to come home with a new appreciation of running water and air that didn't stink of hot piss. 

I suppose how magical the world seems to you is directly connected to your cynicism and what you've become blasé to though, isn't it. The characters in this movie literally live amongst unicorns but because that's what they're used to they see them as no different to how we'd see a clowder of feral cats. “Clowder” is the collective term for a load of cats apparently. We're told that their world invented our modern technologies such as cars and electric lights because it was easier for them to do that than constantly having to cast spells. But if they're capable of magically creating people from the genitals down then I'm impressed that they could be bothered to get anything done at all. I would have once told you that our real-life existence was a bland trudge through mundanity but then I also wandered into a sex show whilst stoned in Amsterdam once. It turns out that there is still magic in our world they just charge you one euro a minute to view in a crusty booth whilst off your tits on something called “Chernobyl's Explosion”. In the case of Onward, the message seems to be about appreciating what you have instead of focusing on what you've lost. Perhaps this is true of how we view Pixar too with us just expecting that each of their movies will be another masterpiece. This film isn't quite top tier Pixar but it's not far off and oh.. what a cliché.. it made me cry at the end, didn't it. How very predictable. I swear to God that one day Pixar is just going to make a movie in which somebody hits a bag of kittens with a hammer for two hours. I guess we'd call that a 'smashed clowder' which admittedly sounds like something a hipster might eat for breakfast and that I suspect would be fucking delicious. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time. 

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