Some that are new to my writing might not know that my whole journey as a critic started with reviewing the Disney Canon. I had torn my ACL and needed something to occupy my time so leading up to Big Hero 6 I reviewed all the Disney animated classics. This is why my site was originally called 54Disneyreviews. Once I finished that project I enjoyed writing about film so much I decided to keep it up and eventually that expanded to youtube, podcasts etc and my whole life changed.
I mention this history only to say that an animated Disney musical that pays homage to 100 years of filmmaking should be right up my alley. This is what they promised to produce with their latest offering Wish but unfortunately what they have given us is something truly forgettable. Even today just a few days out from seeing it I am struggling to remember anything remarkable. That was not the case with other recent animated offerings. For example, I was humming “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and thinking about some of the moments of that film for weeks after I saw it. I guess there was Strange World but it’s not a throwback princess musical that I should have loved!
I actually don’t think Wish is a terrible film. There is nothing offensive or woke about it so alarmists can calm down. It just wasn’t memorable or special. It honestly reminded me of the Disney renaissance copycat films made by other studios like a Swan Princess but I prefer that film over this. Someone in my comments accused me of hating on a film that I’m not in the ‘target demographic’ for but I don’t think that is it. I wouldn’t be surprised if kids end up feeling restless and disengaged from it. The story just isn’t there (I’d like to remind that person I enjoyed both Paw Patrol movies outside of my demographic.)
The main problem is with the screenplay. The heroine Asha lives in a city where subjects must give up their wishes to leader Magnifico who keeps them locked up so that he can grant wishes each month. Asha goes to Magnifico in hopes he will grant her Grandfather’s wish but it turns out he is a wish hoarder who controls his people rather than helping them. There’s also a troop of sidekicks, a Queen (who is probably the best character in the movie) and a talking goat.
Inside the wishes there are lots of nods to classic Disney films and unfortunately I found myself wishing I was watching one of them at all times. Even the songs, which are fine, had me wishing for other better songs of a similar vein. Ariana DeBose is a good singer and particularly “This Wish” is the standout which is why it’s the one song they’ve been using in the promos.
I do appreciate they made Magnifico a straight up bad guy and gave him a villain song “This is the Thanks I Get.” The Queen has a redemption arc, which like I said, works quite well but all the other sidekicks I found bland to outright annoying (especially Valentino. A little of him goes a LONG way.) For the most part I liked the 2D aesthetic to the animation and the design of the star character had a vintage appeal to it, so that was enjoyable.
And that’s all I really have to say about Wish. It’s a totally forgettable entry from Disney and a real missed opportunity to make their 100 year anniversary special. During the closing credits they have images of characters from those 100 years and while that was nice it only underscored how the film we had just saw wouldn’t be amongst those greats. I hate to say it but this one you can probably wait to watch on Disney Plus if you are curious.
5.5 out of 10
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