Character: Ian Lightfoot (voice)
Directed by: Dan Scanlon
Written by: Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin
Produced by: Kori Rae
Cast Members: Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer
Released date: March 6, 2020 (USA)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Duration: 1h 42min
Two elven brothers embark on a quest to bring their father back for one day.
COMPLETE FULL SYNOPSIS:
In a world inhabited by mythic creatures, magic was commonplace several millennia ago, though difficult to master. After technological advances over the centuries, magic became obsolete and was largely discarded. In the modern-day, two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, live in New Mushroomton. The younger brother, Ian, is a high-school student struggling with self-confidence, and the older brother, Barley, is an enthusiastic yet impulsive role-playing game and historical fanatic. Their father, Wilden, died of a severe illness shortly before Ian was born, and their mother Laurel has a new boyfriend, centaur police officer Colt Bronco, whom Ian and Barley dislike.
On Ian’s sixteenth birthday, Laurel gives her sons a gift from Wilden: a magical staff, a rare Phoenix gem, and a letter describing a “visitation spell” that can resurrect their father for a single day. Ian succeeds in casting the spell but has significant trouble finishing it when Barley intervenes, forcefully offering his help. As a result, only the lower half of Wilden’s body is reformed before the gem disintegrates. The brothers embark on a quest to acquire another gem and complete the spell, taking Barley’s beloved van “Guinevere.” Finding the boys gone, Laurel leaves to look for them.
Ian and Barley visit the Manticore’s Tavern, in the hopes of finding a map to the gem stored inside. However, the tavern has become a family restaurant managed by the Manticore (“Corey” for short). While arguing with Ian over the map, Corey realizes how unfulfilling her life has become and drives the customers away in a fit of insanity, accidentally setting fire to the restaurant and the map. The brothers’ only clue to the gem is a children’s menu suggesting “Raven’s Point,” a nearby mountain. Laurel later arrives at the scene and befriends Corey, who agrees to help her track the both of them down. Corey warns Laurel that the brothers’ journey may awaken a curse that can only be defeated by her sword which is currently held at a pawn shop. After incapacitating the shop clerk and stealing the sword, they end up in a car accident that forces Corey to regain the use of her wings to catch up with Ian and Barley.
Traveling to the mountains, Ian and Barley narrowly escape a motorcycle gang of pixies. After a tense encounter with the police, Ian inadvertently reveals that he has believed Barley to be a screw-up. They argue over Ian not being considerate of Barley’s ideas, primarily not taking what Barley claims to be the “Path of Peril” to the gem. Their argument is cut short when Wilden’s legs begin dancing to the music playing from Guinevere, and the brothers promptly join in. After Ian allows Barley to guide the three of them on the Path of Peril to the gem, they stop at an unopened draw bridge. Ian is forced to use a spell that allows him to walk across the open chasm, where he overcomes his lack of confidence and releases the draw-bridge for Barley and Wilden.
They arrive at “Raven’s Point” which leads them on a trail indicated by a series of raven statues, but Colt follows them, calling in reinforcements. After coming to a dead-end, Barley sacrifices Guinevere to cause a landslide, blocking their pursuers. Following the statues, the brothers descend through a cave where Barley reveals to Ian that one of the final memories he had of his father was how he could not emotionally bring himself to say goodbye to Wilden when he was dying in the hospital. Traveling deeper into the cave, the brothers wind up narrowly avoiding a series of traps including a deadly creature that absorbs and dissolves anything it touches known as a Gelatinous Cube. The final obstacle sends them back to the surface, where they find themselves in front of Ian’s high school. Infuriated at having listened to Barley’s advice, Ian lashes out at him for leading them on a wild goose chase and walks away with Wilden to spend whatever time he has left with his father.
Rereading his list of things he always wished to do with Wilden, Ian realizes that Barley has been a father figure throughout his entire life and returns to make amends. Barley discovers the needed gem inside a historic fountain across the street from high school and retrieves it, unwittingly triggering the curse Corey spoke of, which creates a dragon-shaped golem out of pieces of the school and other nearby objects, bent on claiming the gem. Corey flies in carrying Laurel, and together they distract the golem long enough for Ian to finish casting the visitation spell, but they aren’t able to defeat the Golem on their own. Ian runs off to fight it, allowing for Barley to be the one that wishes Wilden a final goodbye. Ian’s staff is knocked into the ocean during his fight with the golem, but he reforms it from a splinter embedded in his hand and defeats it. Trapped behind a pile of rubble, Ian peeks through a small crack and sees Wilden’s body briefly reappearing to talk to Barley. After Wilden dissipates, Barley tells Ian that their father is proud of him, and the brothers share a hug.
Sometime later, Ian’s confidence and spell-casting have improved, and he surprises Barley by painting his new van, christened “Guinevere The Second.” Corey reopens her tavern in its original spirit, drawing in customers with tales of past adventures. She and Laurel become friends, and Ian and Barley develop a better relationship with Colt, who was inspired to start galloping with his own feet. As the world begins to rediscover the past’s magical arts, the brothers set off on a new quest.
- While having recorded most of their lines separately, Tom Holland and Chris Pratt did some of their recording sessions together since, according to Dan Scanlon, “they’ve worked together before and hung out together”. According to producer Kori Rae, Holland and Pratt improvised some of their lines while recording together.