Verdict: Wish has a lightweight and unoriginal story but the songs and voice cast are wonderful

  • Alan Tudyk, Ariana Debose
  • November 24th 2023
  • Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn

Asha wishes upon a star to help save her kingdom after she senses a darkness with their ruler, King Magnifico.

To celebrate the studio’s 100th anniversary, Disney has released a tribute to their legacy titled Wish.

The studio’s latest animation tells the story of 17-year-old Asha (voiced by Ariana DeBose). She lives in the kingdom of Rosas, which is ruled by the sorcerer King Magnifico (Chris Pine), who keeps hold of the citizen’s wishes and grants one every year.

While the people think their leader is a hero, Asha senses a darkness inside of him and makes a wish upon a star to save everybody’s wishes from Magnifico.

Wish isn’t just a standalone movie – it serves as a tribute to Disney to celebrate its centenary. Wishing on a star has been a recurring theme throughout Disney’s animated films over the years so Wish’s story is a fitting way to honour the studio’s legacy.

And that’s not all – directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn have packed their film with more than 100 references to earlier Disney films and characters. Some are very subtle and for diehard fans only, while others are very obvious, such as appearances from Peter Pan and Bambi.

The film’s art style is also a nod to Disney’s traditional watercolour animation. The creatives have blended the old-school, slightly grainy 2D visuals with modern 3D digital animation. The film’s textured appearance is unusual in our CGI times but it feels refreshingly different and it serves its purpose in adding to the nostalgic vibe.

The story is lightweight and unoriginal but it is elevated by excellent vocal performances and solid songs. Tunes such as Welcome to Rosas and Knowing What I Know Now are enjoyable in the moment but will perhaps not stand the test of time like Frozen’s Let It Go.

DeBose fills Asha with wonder and excited naivete at first before transforming her into a defiant fighter. She has a beautiful singing voice that might move some people to tears.

Pine is the perfect choice for Magnifico and he seems to relish voicing the baddie. His fun villain song, This is the Thanks I Get?!, is another musical highlight.

Wish may not reinvent the wheel story-wise but it is a well-intentioned tribute to Disney’s legacy and the voice cast is wonderful.

In cinemas from Friday 22nd November.

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