DISNEY/PIXAR; AMY SUSSMAN—GETTY IMAGES

In Onward, brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot use magic to try to bring back their dad, who died when they were young. But their first attempt at the spell brings back only half of him—his legs and feet. Perplexed, the brothers look for another spell so they can make him whole. Along the way, the brothers meet Corey. She’s a manticore, a winged creature with the body of a lion and the tail of a scorpion.

Actress Octavia Spencer voices Corey in the animated film. She explained to TFK Kid Reporter Alexis Bumah that her character is a 1,000-year-old mythical beast. Over time, Corey has lost some of her powers. But Ian and Barley motivate her to embark on one more magical quest. “I think kids can really identify with that,” she says. “How many of us are just regular everyday people who get to do something adventurous and fun?”

Spencer says Onward will leave viewers feeling hopeful and happy. The movie is in theaters now.