Welcome to a new little feature, the constant stream of consciousness notes that I take when reviewing a potentially controversial piece of media. I probably will not do this too often, but I thought that for a film of this level of controversy, it might be useful for people to be able to follow along with my deconstruction. And my confusion. Definitely my confusion.
This is entirely stream of consciousness and therefore should not be taken as an authoritative compendium. Please read responsibly. Consult your local Father Polymath Podcast episode for final discussion. https://polymathroundtable.com/episode-26-onward-and-upward-or-down-and-out/
Without further ado, let hit play on Disney Plus!
Stressful action music to start off the show.
Gorgeous animation, barely even recognizable as animation at all.
Obvious Gandalf reference w/ pointy hat beard wizard who does fireworks, casting a
spell called Boombastia to make the fireworks in the sky. Pure magic no actual fireworks.
Quick showcasing of tons of cute big eyed magical beings. Fauns, Centaurs, Merfolk,
pixies, and a few goblins. Also see cyclops, elves and drow, gnomes, and more probably around.
Immediate perverting of typical fantasy lore. Weird goblin creatures trying to start a
campfire, wizard comes around the corner and gasps, casts “Flame Infernar”,
but it hits the campfire and the goblins are happy. Meanwhile, the voiceover
talking about how the world is better because MAGIC and how the MAGIC helps
EVERYONE. (cue sighing noise. Any fantasy reader knows that the goblins are not supposed to be good people!)
Flame Infernar….That sounds like an oddball accent reading of Flame, Infernal. Not Cute Campfire Lighter. Not a promising start for the magic here to use Infernal so lightly.
Ooooh look adventuring party going dungeon crawling. Hey look, isn’t that an Indiana Jones reference there with the Gold Cup on a pedestal?
Third casting of a magic spell, Voltar Thundasir. Volt, Thunder? In the local magical tutoring tongue at least.
Why is the magic being used to fight a dragon? I thought Magic HeLpEd EvErYoNe?
Oh look, magic teacher going around lighting peoples homes with magic. Its just like a 18th century lamplighter.
Now we get the other shoe of magic. Its not easy to master apparently, and put your shirt out, you are on fire.
So….Magic hard, so People found a different way. (cue depressing music sounds internally)
TECHNOLOGY. Now people are using lightbulbs (hint, they are so EASY, and the magic teacher is sad.)
Now the world is modern and magic took a hike. Wow, This whole build up to get to the modern world, but remember kids, magic was in the world in the past and it was better than nasty capitalist technology. See the soul sucking factory assembly lines?
Come on, Why did you have to make the Pegasus Unicorns into flying raccoons? Both of those creatures are supposed to be noble and beautiful and representative of pure goodness in the world.
“I hope there is a little magic left in you?” Thats gonna make for some awkward discussion points if they keep going down the route of perverting what is known and accepted from fantasy worlds.
Cue my deep sigh, its only 3 minutes into the film.
The main character, Ian, is a blue skinned elf drow thing with blue hair. Seems fair enough, but when the same color scheme is tracked onto his mother, it makes for a very different subgroup image when compared to our world. Short wildly colored hair is a hallmark of some alternate lifestyles in our world.
Ian lost his father, very sad, but is now wearing his dads hoody. He finally grew into it and is now an adult apparently?
Noice dragon pet though!
Oh look, NOT dungeons and dragons (#copyrightavoidance), being run by Ian’s big brother Barley. Once again things are flipped on their heads, the big burly macho brother with the denim vest tricked out with patches and spikes is playing the nerdy game. Oh, which Ian referenced as “toys”.
Introducing what is obviously going to be an awkward side plot, the centaur police officer Bronco is condemning Barley for trying to protest and save old parts of town history, while simultaneously dating the boys’ mom. Bronco is definitely a bull in a china shop, absolutely oblivious to what is being broken around him. Like Ians breakfast. Several times.
Clumsy brother damages the treasured Dad hoody, and then pre-emptively promises to embarrass the brother at school with an old school ceremony to “Dub Thee an Adult.” I HATE AWKWARD TEEN DRAMA.
Whats the chances that Ian will meet a friend of his deceased dad’s while picking up food on the way to school? Cue the buildup to Pathos sympathy card description for the film. Here, let me tell you about your dad….
Guess its time for the awkward teen to reinvent himself, annoy everyone and get slapped down, and then go on an emotional journey to rediscover the true meaning of self which turns out to be exactly who he was before he tried to change. Anyone want to offer betting odds on how close that prediction is by the end of the film?Was written at exactly the moment previous paragraph was finished on screen….
Lists and inspiring music coupled with high school drama. This can’t go wrong.
Internal Narrator Voice: Little did he know, it was about to go wrong.
Utter humiliation and awkward failure. Crushing of dreams, humiliation, and plumbers crack.
TBH, skipped ahead like a minute, this was even more cringe than Spidermans troubles at school.
Now we get to hear Ian listening to his dad on a tape. Music is a bit loud for this, the parts with his mum talking are too faint to hear. Thank goodness for subtitles? Really sad though.
Love the bit where the Mom speaks Barleys language returning the miniature left in the hall. Score one for understanding what your kids are talking about.
Okay, full stop here. Hold up. Ians dad left a gift for when the boys were both 16. A wizard staff, obviously recognized by Barley. And a transcript of the opening monologue, and a note that he wrote a spell so he could see what they turned out like.
A “visitation spell”.
A resurrection spell.
Okay, officially not comfortable with this. This sort of jiggery pokery with death and life is really awkward, especially given the pains of loss and orphanage.
Okay, Barley, obviously a fighter type class, muscles and all. Ian is the wizard, as his brother foretold, Good foreshadowing there by the film writers.
Well only works halfway, the spell fails and all they get are a half a person. Still walking???
Quest time, and Barley is totally psyched up, its just like the GAME!
Troll. Running a tollbooth on a highway. How modernly fantasy.
Ian has a lot of things he wants to do with the father he never had, this is his life dream.
I would pay to have Chris Prat voice an inspiring quest life narrator type thing.
Anyhoo, Mum is on their tail, and not happy with them running out questing.
Ian makes a bad mage, definitely doesnt know what he is doing.
This really is pretteeeey awkward. Manticore is a paranoid restaurant owner now, and is definitely NOT wanting adventurers. No worry, A quick peptalk and the Manticore is back in touch with their true self, setting the restaurant on fire and chasing out customers. Oh, and Ian makes magic for the first time intentionally.
Aloft Elevar. Seriously, no one couldnt be bothered to be innovative. Aloft, Elevate. Wow. real original.
Honestly, I’m losing fire fast here, the steams all out of my boiler. I just want this to be over with already.
Officer bronco has a creeper ringtone on mums phone. Glad to see that mom is willing to fight for her sons and keep them safe.
Pixies, now are motorcycle gangs. Gotcha. Oh, and barley got midgeted by a bad spell failure.
This just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Mom has kidnapped the Manticore who is mostly oblivious. Mom is working on that saving her kids thing still though, good on ya.
And now the pixies are coming after boys, and attacking them. At least Ian is getting to drive now, Car chase sequence with demented pixes and bad driving. And AC jet stream.
And heres the cops stopping them. This is the bit that had the awkward sexuality thing right?
More magic, this one a disguise spell. Now we get a weird bit of dialogue here. “Disguising yourself is a Lie, So you must tell the truth to get by.” So of course, lets disguise ourselves as Officer bronco….
Hmm, That one cop is clearly gay, and talking for one sentence about her girlfriend having a kid.
Not the worst message included in this film tbh. This is gonna be a hard episode.
Ugh, The other cops are bad talking Barley and Ian (voicing and acting as the top half of Bronco) disagrees, causing his disguise spell to break. This leads to even more disharmony in the form of Barley feeling like his brother actually thinks that he is a screwup like the cops said because you know Magic does not lie….
But hey, dance break now! Lets see the bottom half of bad dad dancing!
Steal the magic sword, poison the pawn shop lady, chase the boys up the so aptly named Path of Peril…. Yep, its still going.
Now there is a bottomless pit? Thats actually a Chasm? And Ian has to make a bridge that he believes is actually there but is a figment of his imagination but its there if you believe in it. Riiiiight.
Okay, Trust bridge. Gotcha.
And hey, found the ACTUAL clue that was needed to find the quest item. Annnnnd got chased down by The Bronco. But no worries, Ian is running from the cops. And getting them stuck. And not being able to cast the Voltar Thundasir spell to block the road with boulders.
Cue Barley, Sacrificing his van, the vaunted Gwenivere to block the road. Because he wants to see his dad just as much as Ian. Ride to Valhalla mix engage, Flat tire makes the horse hooves noises, Fair well Gwen.
The journey is the destination with these young boys, Ian learning the magic, Barley providing the wisdom, Mom driving into the pixies that learned to fly again after Ian talked to them earlier…..And are now flying gangs….
Giant Cheese puff boat engage!
Turns out, Barley refused to say goodby to his father, and that is his dream. But the caves are cool too.
Yadda yadda, stressful things, turns around, incoming family heartbreak and anger montage.
Yadda yadda, cool fight, sunset ending.
#Thanks I hate it. Here is the single thing that needs to happen for your character to reach the end of his development and character arc. Oh Wait! Lets NOT give it to him, and then make him look at it from a distance through a rock cage.
Why in the heavens above?
PIXAR? What happened to you? Too many disneys?
And all of a sudden Fabio? Wait I thought the boys hated him?