When you’re a kid and you suddenly find yourself part of a big movie adventure, chances are good that if you have a sibling around, they’ll come too. That happens in Pixar’s Onward—just the latest in a long line of sci-fi and fantasy movies featuring siblings who become hero teams along the way. Here are eight of our other favorites.
Obviously, Disney has a long track record of sending brothers and/or sisters on epic quests and/or into battle together. We’ve already mentioned Onward from Pixar, and the Frozen series is another recent example. A classic example is Star Wars’ Luke and Leia, though they didn’t end up sharing too much screen time once their family ties were established. But while Marvel’s movies are often more fond of playing up sibling rivalries (Thor, Loki, and Hela; Nebula and Gamora, etc.) than team-ups, there’s no more magical duo than T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) in Black Panther.
He’s got gravitas, a strong moral code, and the royal superpowers that are his birthright—but he wouldn’t get very far in a fight without the suits, vehicles, and weapons crafted using Shuri’s wizard-like technology smarts. There’s a mutual respect there, but also the kind of deep love that allows for snarking about, say, one’s questionable decision to wear sandals in a science lab.
When their beloved neighborhood is threatened by greedy developers, Mikey Walsh (Sean Astin) and his friends do what any kids in need of a great sum of money who also happen to be in possession of a pirate map would do, and go treasure hunting! While Mikey’s older brother Brand (Josh Brolin) is initially irritated by his brother’s antics, he soon joins the adventure—partially to impress the girl he has a crush on, but also because he genuinely cares about Mikey, who’s perpetually in danger of succumbing to asthma, escaped convicts, and the fallout from any number of cleverly placed booby traps.
Remember when Disney wasn’t afraid to just get totally freakin’ weird? This 1975 adaptation of Alexander Key’s groovy sci-fi novel follows Tia (Kim Richards) and Tony (Ike Eisenmann), orphans who’re desperately trying to stay one step ahead of the sleazy tycoon (Ray Milland) and his yes-men (including Halloween’s Donald Pleasence) who’re dying to get their mitts on the kids so they can exploit their superpowers. The siblings, who have an unusually close relationship that speaks to their not quite human origins, spend most of the movie as fugitives, but fortunately their extraordinary abilities—including Tia’s handy ability to talk to animals—help keep them safe until they track down the rest of their long-lost family.
Middle kid Elliott (Henry Thomas) first discovers the skittish alien that’s taken up residence in his family’s backyard shed, and he’s the one who really bonds with the creature. But his madcap plan to hide E.T.—first from his frazzled mom, then from menacing government types—and then help E.T. hitch an urgent interstellar ride home wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his siblings, who provide key support (disguises, reconnaissance, BMX-based subterfuge, etc.) in all aspects of the anti-adult cover-up.
It’s sibling law that if one of you discovers a magical portal to a fantasy realm, everyone else gets to tag along and see it for themselves. The Pevensie kids—Lucy (Georgie Henley), Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), and Edmund (Skander Keynes)—have had so many adventures together involving witches, enchanted creatures, ascensions to the throne, allegorical beasts, and more that they’ve filled three feature films (so far) based on the seven-part classic C.S. Lewis book series.
We’re talking about movies here, but if you prefer the Netflix version, so be it; both adaptations of Daniel Handler’s jauntily macabre series of children’s books follow the misadventures of the newly orphaned Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, who fall into the clutches of their sinister relative, Count Olaf. Disasters abound, conspiracies arise, and cruelty rears its head on occasion—but the kids, including toothy baby Sunny, manage to work together to out-scheme every greedy adult that tries to get the better of them.
When the witchy, children-consuming Sanderson sisters rise from the beyond, it’s up to a pair of new-in-town siblings (one of whom was—oops!—the cause of that supernatural reincarnation) to make things right again. Their dynamic—over-it older bro Max (Omri Katz) and Halloween-obsessed younger sis Dani (Thora Birch)—mirrors the relationship of another pair of Salem siblings, whose less-successful encounter with the Sandersons sets Hocus Pocus’ circa-1993 events in order hundreds of years prior.
Sam (Corey Haim) and Michael (Jason Patric) are the main characters here, and their relationship—a bond built on affectionate shit-talking—forms the heart of the movie. But that brotherly love is tested when Michael sorta accidentally falls in with the local vampire gang. The boys eventually resolve to stand up to the bloodsuckers, but their ghoul-fighting efforts would be pretty wan without the well-informed and well-armed assistance of another brother team: Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander).
While Sam and Michael, who’ve just arrived in town with their newly divorced mother (Dianne Wiest), are still figuring out the lay of the land in beachy Santa Carla, Edgar and Alan are hardcore locals who have some specific ideas about survival in “the murder capital of the world.” Nobody really has any idea what they’re doing when it comes time for the movie’s big battle—but the combined power of both sets of brothers (along with several wooden stakes and other anti-vamp implements) manage to get the job done.
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