• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

WISH – Does Disney’s Latest Make Your Wish for a Great Animated Film Come True?

ByTaylor T Carlson

Nov 17, 2023

WISH is directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn. The film features the voices of Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, Jennifer Kumiyama, Harvey Guillen, Evan Peters, Ramy Youssef, and Jon Rudnitsky.

The people of Rosas, an island kingdom, live happily under the rule of King Magnifico. Wish ceremonies are regularly held on the island, where the citizens can give their wishes to the king with the hopes that they’ll be granted, but they lose the memory of said wish when doing so. Young Asha wants nothing more than to be the King’s servant, but soon sees a darker side to the ruler that others don’t. When she wishes on a star following her bad experience, she realizes that she must be the one to set free the wishes that will likely never come true, returning them to the people who made them.

The opening “castle” logo for WISH proudly boasts that it’s Disney’s 100th anniversary. And in that century, they’ve created some animated masterpieces, and a few clunkers along the way as well. Still, few film studios are as revered as the House of Mouse, and their animation studio, be it 2D or 3D, remains among the best out there today. WISH is the latest in a long line of Disney animated films. And while it brings along a superb voice cast and some of the most beautiful animation this moviegoer has ever seen, the execution is disappointing, with a complete lack of originality and memorable songs, and even a few elements that border on plagiarism.

I’ll give WISH credit for its strongest asset – The absolutely beautiful animation. The opening of the film depicts the story as being in a storybook, a nice throwback to the Disney days of old when this is how many of their animated classics began. I’ve never seen a movie that quite looks the way WISH does, combining elements of 2D and 3D animation effortlessly. It truly looks like a storybook that popped off the pages of a book. The movie is visually stunning, bringing its kingdom and citizens to life in fine form. The voice cast does the best they can with what they’re given, including Alan Tudyk voicing a goat who serves as much of the comic relief, Chris Pine as King Magnifico, and Ariana DeBose as main character Asha.

Sadly, despite its ambition, WISH never lives up to what it could be. The film throws in many characters and the obligatory Disney songs, yet none of them are particularly memorable. At the time I’m writing this review it’s been a day since my screening, and I can only remember a single song that was particularly memorable; you’re not going to find another “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” here. References to other DIsney films feel out of place and forced. The characters are mostly one-note stock types who lack depth and have a single personality trait; the Wikipedia page for the film even states that Asha’s friends were based on the Disney versions of the Seven Dwarfs, which is believable. Magnifico is a bland and uninteresting villain who feels like he’s going through the expected motions (though Chris Pine’s voice acting is solid). I’ve come to expect better villains from the studio who gave us Maleficent, Cruella, Jafar, and Scar, to name a few. Ironically, the most memorable character in the movie is a star that’s named, well, Star, who despite being completely nonverbal, gives the movie’s best performance, having more personality than the rest of the cast despite their ability to speak.

And this brings me to my biggest problem with the movie – plagiarism. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Nintendo files suit against Disney due to elements in this movie that are blatantly ripped off from Nintendo’s SUPER MARIO BROS. franchise. The Star character is nearly identical in appearance to the Luma beings from various MARIO games. And the plot of the movie, involving an evil entity and a plot to prevent wishes from being granted, is literally the plot of SUPER MARIO RPG. If you don’t believe me, go play the games. You may be surprised.

WISH is a beautifully animated film, though a frustratingly mundane and pedestrian one what fails to leave a lasting impact. I have a feeling it’ll be a big Thanksgiving weekend hit with families with children. I’m not sorry to have seen the film, but it’s not one I’ll find myself rushing back to. If you’re got little ones and you’re looking for some big screen entertainment, take the kids. But anyone else would be better off waiting for the inevitable Disney+ release.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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