The one thing they executed really well was the characters. I think there was a part of viewers that could really connect to the two brothers. Whether you are socially awkward like Ian or you are a very loud and confident person like Barley, I think there was something for everyone with the two characters being so opposite to each other. After all, the film is truly about family and brotherhood. Being the older sibling I could really relate to how Barley is overprotective of Ian and wants him to be more confident with himself. He pushes Ian out of his comfort zone and Ian gets mad at him for it. Barley is very outspoken and confident, whereas Ian is very independent and kept to himself. He struggles in social situations, which is seen when he tries to invite people to his birthday party at the start of the movie. By the end he is giving a presentation about magic and his adventure to his class, showing how he has changed as a character. I like that Ian is kind of that awkward sixteen year old kid because it makes him easy to connect with not only kids but teens and adults. I think his character arc shows how you can overcome your own social issues. I also liked how Barley is kind of in this phase of his life when he doesn’t know what to do and he seems a little stuck. I think he needs Ian to help him grow as a person.
In this film I liked that there wasn’t a villain or a bad guy. It was kind of them facing their own internal battles together. This includes the grief Barley has for never saying goodbye to his dad when he was ill. I think once that weight is lifted off of Barley he can truly move on without worrying if he is what his dad wanted of him. I think it was smart that we never actually see their dad, only hear about him. It doesn’t give in to the false idea that you can bring back people who have passed, but to cherish what memories you had with them, and the people you have now. For Ian, this realization came when he was going through the list of the things he wanted to do once he met his dad. He discovers that Barely has been there for him all along and has been his father figure in his life. Barley needed to see his dad to get his closure whereas Ian never met their dad, but he had Barley.