WISH May Not Be The Answer To Disney’s Wishes, But Is Still Fun

2022 and 2023 have been tough years for Disney movies. People have talked about how the world’s biggest studio has recently failed to create magical cinema. Whether they are discussing and critiquing Disney Animation Studios, Disney/Pixar, or Marvel Studios, it has been challenging for the “House of the Mouse” to score hugely with mass audiences. The latest entry from Disney Animation Studios, Wish, is an apparent attempt to rekindle the magical world of Disney and appeal to audiences of all ages.

Now, I am not going to lie. Wish is not at all the savior of Disney animation. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is a fun family film, but it will take a lot of creativity, imagination, and heart for Disney to develop and create another award-winning classic. Wish faces the right direction but doesn’t quite offer audiences something otherworldly and fantastic.

This fairy tale takes place in the Kingdom of Rosas, a moderately-sized community created by and led by King Magnifico (Chris Pine) and Queen Amaya (Angelique Cabral) on an island in the Mediterranean. Magnifico is a formidable sorcerer who desires to use his powers for good as a guardian of their hearts’ wishes. In Rosas, King Magnifico protects and studies the wishes of his people and decides whose wishes should come true. Those wishes that won’t benefit the greater good in Rosas remain behind and are never granted.

This situation does not sit well with the big-hearted and passionate Asha, a teenage citizen of Rosas whose only wish is to see her mother’s and grandfather’s wishes come true. After Asha challenges the king’s authority, the vain and willful leader feels threatened by her insubordination. When Asha accidentally conjures up some magic from a wish-granting star, Magnifico sees this as treason and labels the young lady as an enemy of his kingdom.

Written and directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, who co-wrote the story and screenplay with Jennifer Lee and Allison Moore, Wish has some important lessons about great power and its potential to corrupt. This moral might go over some of the heads of younger children, but pre-teens and older will particularly understand the movie’s message. The film deals with free will, fear, and pursuing dreams and aspirations.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie and appreciated its social commentary. However, as fun as the movie can be and as enjoyable as the musical numbers are, some beats come across as recycled from other fairy tales, while the humor sometimes gets a bit redundant. Nevertheless, I did find myself tapping my feet to most of the songs and laughed heartily before the gags got too repetitive.

Wish has a wonderful voice cast of actors who give much heart and passion to their roles. Ariana DeBose beautifully captures Asha’s wild-eyed, big-hearted optimism and love for her family, friends, and fellow citizens of Rosas. Chris Pine is magnificent as the charismatic but vain and corrupt King Magnifico. Alan Tudyk is hilarious as Valentino, Asha’s pet goat, who is granted the ability to speak. Other great performances come from Evan Peters, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, and Harvey Guillen.

Wish opens in theaters over the Thanksgiving holiday and is enjoyable enough for families to see in theaters as a matinee. It has plenty of heart and just enough magic to entertain the little children. It is still not quite a Disney classic, but not everything Disney touches can be gold.

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