Starring: Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Jennifer Kumiyama, Harvey Guillén, Evan Peters, Ramy Yousseff, Niko Vargas, Jon Rudnitsky, Della Saba, Natasha Rothwell, and Victor Garber
Directors: Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn
Disney's latest animated effort, Wish, is missing the magic it preaches within the film. The story is fine, but it's hampered by too many half-baked characters and a ton of exposition (including an exposition-filled song!). It's a shame because parts of it work. Chris Pine's Magnifico is the first genuinely scary villain Disney has had in some time, and Star is a delight that's bound to be found under many a Christmas tree this season. As for the music, it's very hit or miss (the Lin-Manuel Miranda influence is prevalent). I have no doubt kids will resonate with Wish, but it fails to provide all-ages entertainment.
There is a group of characters in Wish that have a fun dynamic, but I swear I can’t remember any of their names. This is ultimately the downfall of Disney’s latest animated outing. In place of an intriguing character-driven narrative (often a studio strength), there is an arbitrary succession of quippy songs and witty conversations. The film plays like a compilation of Disney classics, with easter eggs and references spearheading the story instead of characters experiencing well-trodden life lessons. With such a great cast, it’s a shame I won’t remember who they voiced or what they did in this surprisingly unmemorable movie.
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Disney brings us Wish, a movie with the plot of a classic Disney fairytale but completely lacking in soul. It features an unappealing animation style, bland songs, and arbitrary world-building that makes me question what the motives of this movie were. Disney is at its best when it's sincere, and this movie doesn't feel sincere at all. No disrespect to Ariana DeBose's performance, but the protagonist is a forgettable, motive-less husk of a character. Wish can be enjoyable, but this movie will be forgotten almost instantly.
“That was cute,” my wife says with a sheepish grin as we exit. Wish reminded me that maybe sometimes a surface-level, Hallmark-style holiday movie (or a safely formulaic Disney film) may be just what the soul needs over the rantings of a cynical critic. I don’t see Wish topping anyone’s Top Ten list with its minimal character development and forgettable musical numbers, including one where talking mushrooms and animals explain the big bang theory, which…interesting, but the animation style is okay and the voice acting is decent. I guess I’m saying don’t expect much, but it’s cute.