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Welcome, World Travelers! Wish is a Star-Studded Spectacular 100 Years in the Making!

by James Coulter

This year, Disney celebrates its 100th anniversary. Sadly, despite this being a momentous year for the company, its output has proven less than spectacular. Elemental was a huge flop, its Marvel and Star Wars content has been rather lackluster, and its live-action remakes have been…typical Disney live-action remakes.

However, Disney is officially concluding its 100th anniversary celebration with Wish, its newest animated feature that claims to be “100 years in the making.” But does this movie live up to Disney’s 100-year-old hype? Or is this a movie that needs to be tossed into the dark recesses of the Disney Vault?

Wish takes place in the enchanted fairy tale kingdom of Rosas, led by the spell-casting monarch King Magnifico. In exchange for their heart’s greatest desire and their absolute loyalty, he uses his magic to grant the wishes of his subjects.

Asha is a young girl who aspires to be the king’s apprentice and help him grant other people’s wishes. Unfortunately, she soon learns that his wish-granting powers are not all they are cracked up to be. Through the help of a magical star sprite that fell from the sky, Asha is determined to sneak into the castle and release the hoarded wishes. Will she succeed in her quest? Or will her wish not come true?

Disney has evidently taken note of its competitors and decided to emulate their more stylized computer animation. However, while Wish isn’t as stylized as movies like Puss in Boots: The Last Wish or Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse, the watercolor texture does offer a rather storybook feel to the animation that almost feels like a book of fairy tales come to life. (Not as much so as The Last Wish, but rather close.)

Disney also evidently wanted this movie to celebrate the company’s 100-year-long legacy with plenty of references to previous Disney movies. From Asha having seven friends clearly inspired by the seven dwarves, to the countless inside jokes nodding to past Disney movies (when you see and hear them, you’ll know), and even to the main antagonist being an honest-to-Satan real unapologetic Disney villain, this movie will either have you clapping and squealing in glee, pointing and saying “I understood that reference!”, or rolling your eyes at the cynically blatant meta jokes—all depending on your love or hate for the movie.

The movie’s soundtrack is also chef’s kiss! Obviously, the big musical number the movie wants you to love is the momentous I-wish ballad “This Wish” sung by the not-really-a-princess Disney Princess Asha, but plenty of other songs proved just as great. King Magnifico’s big villain song “This Is The Thanks I Get?” is a great villain’s song which, while not an instant classic like “Be Prepared” or “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, certainly makes you miss when Disney had such big villainous musical numbers. My personal favorite has to be “Knowing What I Know Now”, a real revolutionary banger that will have you pumping your fists in the air and screaming, “Yeah! Fight the power!”

Speaking of revolutionary, this movie has quite a radical political edge. The main villain is a ruler who demands loyalty from his people in exchange for giving them whatever they want or

need. As the plot unfolds, his true intentions become clear, and it is soon revealed that he only does what he does to maintain power over others. Thus, the movie provides an unsubtly anti-authoritarian message about how no one person should ever hold so much power and control over other people’s lives, how foolish it can be to place all your faith and trust in such charismatic leaders, and how the people should have the power to control their own lives and destiny.

You know, if I had a nickel for every time I watched an animated movie this year that Trojan Horsed a radical political message inside of a classic fairy tale setting, I would have two nickels—which isn’t much, but it’s weird it happened twice! (The other time was Netflix’s Nimona—an animated movie about a shape-shifting character—who’s not too subtly queer-coded—who is ostracized by a society that demonizes anything that deviates from the norm like she does.)

Overall, Wish is a love letter to Disney animation and its 100-year legacy. If you’re willing to overlook somewhat lackluster characters and telegraphed plot points, it is a spectacular animated feature with brilliant animation, mellifluous musical numbers, and plenty of the good elements that Disney fans have come to expect from the House of Mouse.

author avatar
Staff Reporter

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