Walt Disney Animation’s “Wish” offers a breathtaking visual experience with its captivating watercolor-inspired animation and delightful Easter egg surprises that resonate with fans of Disney classics. While the film falls short in terms of storytelling, it serves as a testament to the studio’s illustrious 100-year history. Directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, “Wish” attempts to capture the essence of Disney’s magic and charm, although it feels more like a corporate endeavor than a genuine expression of imagination and dreams.
Instead of relying on heartfelt creativity, “Wish” incorporates a rather forced and unimaginative song titled “I Am a Star,” featuring a talking rabbit who cheerfully reminds the heroine Asha that “we’re all shareholders when it comes to the universe.” Hearing a term like “shareholders” in a fairy tale world where magic and talking animals exist feels dispiriting and out of place. Nevertheless, the film introduces us to the Kingdom of Rosas, a realm built by Magnifico (voiced by Chris Pine), who possesses the power to grant wishes and other magical abilities.
In “Wish,” wishes hold a profound significance beyond simple desires. They encompass the essence of one’s soul and reason for existence. Upon turning 18, Magnifico convinces his subjects to entrust their wishes to him for protection, storing them in floating orbs within his castle’s observatory. However, when Asha discovers that Magnifico has no intention of fulfilling her 100-year-old grandfather’s wish, she sets off on an accidental revolution, challenging the status quo of Rosas.
The film features original songs by Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice, which offer a slick and poppy vibe. Depending on personal taste, the soundtrack may appeal to those who enjoyed the songs from “The Greatest Showman.” Standout tracks include “Knowing What I Know Now,” which carries a catchy melody.
While the animation in “Wish” beautifully blends traditional and computer-generated styles, the character designs and certain visual elements sometimes appear artificial within the storybook-like textures. Additionally, the star, a silent and innocent character, lacks the captivating spark needed to become an iconic symbol. It bears a resemblance to the nihilistic star from the recent “Super Mario Bros. Movie.”
“Wish” serves as harmless holiday entertainment for families. However, it feels less like a film born from an impassioned dream and more like a movie created to fulfill obligations. It is puzzling to see a film that revolves around celebrating the uniqueness of every individual feel constrained and lacking in genuine inspiration. Surely, the talented individuals involved in this project have countless ideas that could have better commemorated Disney’s 100 years and propelled the company into the future. Perhaps next time, they will realize the magic they are truly capable of.
– This article was inspired by a post on ‘washingtonpost.com’.