Disney’s centennial celebration takes an unexpected turn with ‘Wish,’ a lackluster animation that leans heavily on nostalgia but falls short of capturing the magic of its predecessors. While the film introduces a promising premise in the magical kingdom of Rosas, ruled by the enigmatic King Magnifico (Chris Pine), it ultimately succumbs to a formulaic plot, forgettable songs, and uninspired animation.
The story follows 17-year-old Asha (Ariana DeBose), vying to become King Magnifico’s apprentice. However, as she unravels the king’s questionable methods of collecting and holding people’s wishes, she takes matters into her own hands, aided by a literal star and her talking goat, Valentino (Alan Tudyk). Though potentially engaging, the narrative takes a back seat to a barrage of Disney callbacks, leaving audiences yearning for the creativity seen in the studio’s earlier classics.
Despite a talented cast, including Chris Pine’s spirited performance as King Magnifico, the characters feel one-dimensional, serving as mere conduits for musical numbers and predictable plot developments. The songs, composed by Dave Metzger, Julia Michaels, and Benjamin Rice, need more innovation from past Disney hits, echoing a sense of redundancy rather than capturing hearts.
One of the film’s significant missteps is its visual presentation. The attempt at a sketched animation style doesn’t elevate the viewing experience, and the characters’ interactions with flat backgrounds often need to be more cohesive. Even iconic elements like singing trees fall short, appearing half-finished and out of sync with the narrative.
Despite its shortcomings, ‘Wish’ may still appeal to the young audience for its fleeting charms. However, the film falls flat for the adults accompanying them, who likely harbor vivid memories of Disney’s glory days. The final showdown with King Magnifico feels rushed, leaving much to be desired regarding a satisfying resolution.
Ultimately, ‘Wish’ is a missed opportunity for Disney to showcase its storytelling prowess during its centennial celebration. Two twelve-year-old girls and a forty-year-old and I watched, and in the end, we agreed that – tolerable is the word of the day. Instead of breaking new ground, the film relies heavily on past successes, resulting in a forgettable addition to the studio’s extensive repertoire.