It’s an odd time to be a Disney fan. While the company has long been the pinnacle of animation, some of its recent releases have failed to impress audiences. After a growing collection of failures, the studio has released Wish to an increasingly skeptical crowd.
As a longstanding Disney fan, I tell you that Disney’s Wish movie doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is a pinnacle showing of what makes fans love the studios’ animated features.
So why are the critics divided on the film? Reading through many reviews, it has become clear that harshly and unfairly critiquing animated Disney films has become the norm. However, like Asha’s wish for the people of Rosas, Disney deserves more than this.
The Story of Wish
Wish tells the story of a young girl named Asha who lives in the fictional kingdom of Rosas on the Mediterranean Sea. The city is ruled by a handsome king named Magnifico, beloved by his subjects.
When a citizen of Rosas turns 18, they willingly turn over their most cherished wish to Magnifico for safekeeping, forgetting their worries in the process. In return, the benevolent ruler holds a monthly ceremony to grant one lucky person their wish.
The catch of the story is that Asha quickly finds out that Magnifico hoards most of the wishes given to him and only grants one he deems safe for Rosas. Magnifico pulls a stunt to put her in her place, causing Asha to make a wish to the night sky to help her people. This brings down a magical star and begins the main narrative to convince the kingdom that the king is not what he seems.
Asha has a collection of seven friends that play into the narrative as she tries to win them to her side. Furthermore, her original goal of getting her grandpa’s wish back to him quickly escalates into something more.
A Disney Wish Movie Review for Fans
Wish checks all the boxes of a great Disney animated classic. It has a charismatic main character in Asha, voiced by the talented Ariana DeBose. She has an adorable animal sidekick, Valentino the baby goat (hilariously acted by Alan Tudyk). The film also has a powerful message about never letting go of dreams and working to fulfill them.
However, it has become painfully obvious that critics have placed Disney on a pedestal in terms of expectations that the company will seldom be able to reach.
Critics attack the studio for being safe with the plot or not taking risks with its theme. They seem to forget that the film must first and foremost be enjoyable for children without losing their interest. Star and Valentino provide much-needed humor and adorable antics for this very reason.
It is also hard to balance this with giving adults a fulfilling story. This is largely where the songs fit in. However, Wish provides an easy-to-follow plot with a lot of nostalgia for adults, and the music is fresh and catchy. The film has eight original songs written by Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice.
“This Wish” is the standout number that will be on repeat in homes worldwide. Other songs like “What I Know Now” and “At All Costs” are notable bangers. A reprise of “This Wish” at the film’s climax has a chorus and orchestra that is stunning and emotional.
Criticism of King Magnifico
King Magnifico is one of the major standouts in the film’s characters. He is a peak Disney villain, and it has been a long time since we have seen anything like him in recent Disney offerings. Chris Pine delivered an amazing performance. You can tell he was having fun.
Many critics have attacked the film for making Magnifico’s motivations and fall into an irredeemable monster unclear. However, the film really drives it home if you actually pay attention.
They may not bluntly state it, but everything about his interactions with Asha in early scenes and the backstory he presents makes it clear that he is a paranoid person who has to be in control of his environment at all costs due to trauma.
A Celebration of Disney’s History That Doesn’t Feel Forced
I went into Wish knowing the film had over 100 easter eggs that call back to Disney’s history. I planned to look for as many as I could. However, aside from a few that are very on the nose, I actually didn’t find any that overly stood out.
Critics have accused the film of being too preoccupied with these references. Trust me, nothing in the film takes you out of it or overstays its welcome. They are quick nods and nothing more.
Disney Wish Movie Review – Trying Something New
Other critics labeled the film’s unique animation style as looking unfinished or dull. I, for one, am happy that Disney is trying new things with its presentation, and much of Wish was gorgeous to watch. Magnifico’s descent into villainy with his evil green magic is a standout. Furthermore, the night scene where Asha sings “This Wish” is gorgeous to look at.
It has become apparent that Disney has built up such a high reputation that it can’t just release a new film and have it sail through with acclaim for being an enjoyable experience with fantastic music that entertains adults and children from beginning to end.
Disney has had a lot of failures in 2023. Many people relish these missteps, and becoming increasingly critical of the company’s blunders has become the norm. Wish should not be one of them.
Wish may not be the greatest Disney ever made. However, it is far from the worst and exceeded my extremely high expectations.
I do not know what some people expected while writing a Disney Wish movie review. When Disney tries something new, it is attacked lately. Furthermore, it is labeled too safe if it doesn’t innovate enough. It’s a no-win situation.
If you truly love Disney and just want an enjoyable and familiar film by the studio, you have nothing to worry about when heading to the theaters to see Wish. Sometimes, it’s best not to hold too much value in people’s opinions and experience it yourself.