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Be Careful What You Wish For.
This is a quick review of the newly released film Wish. Keep in mind this is but one of the many movies I watch every year, and that whatever initial grade I come up for this film could change for better or worse with time. To better keep up to date with both my thoughts on other movies and if my feelings on this film changed, follow me on Letterboxd.
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Via Letterboxd: Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force - a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe, the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico, to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
Last year when I wrote about my frustrations with the modern Disney animated cannon in the middle of my review for Strange World, I cited the need for more romance and first and foremost for a central villain to the plot. I got the former in Pixar’s latest with Elemental and the latter was finally given to me by the latest Disney Animation Studios project in Wish - a movie that literally celebrates Disney’s 100th anniversary by giving us the origin story for the star Disney characters wish upon. Maybe just maybe I’d finally get that A-tier non-Pixar animated Disney movie I was starving for.
The biggest pluses for this film comes in the form of Ariana DeBose as the voice of our heroine Asha and Chris Pine as the voice of our antagonist King Magnifico. DeBose lends her great singing skills and Pine is clearly having a blast playing a Disney baddie. The songs differ from good to great with Pine’s solo song "This Is the Thanks I Get?!” being my personal favorite. The animation is good as well though admittedly pales in comparison to what we saw other animated films from the year pull off. There’s also a host of fun easter eggs that wink at the fact this is a celebration of 100 years of Disney.
I should note The film features two cute sidekick characters in the wishing star himself named, um, simply Star, and a talking baby goat with a deep voice in Valentino. The former has many cute and funny mannerisms that got chuckles out of me, but unfortunately the latter made jokes that went completely flat with me and I eventually found the character to feel more pointless than not.
Adding to some gripes of mine while I loved finally having a central baddie in one of these, the story arc for Magnifico goes to a place that I found myself wanting to know more about him and he eventually fades to become more hollow as a character towards the finale. The film also has a pretty large ensemble of side characters in Asha’s friends, mom, and grandpa but we barely get to know them as much as I would have liked.
The final result is a cute and perfectly fine, albeit generic and potentially forgettable, addition to the Disney catalog that does enough to be enjoyable but didn’t blow me away either. I’m going back and forth from a strong B and a weak B+ with this one. I wished for more, but what I got was good enough as well and I certainly enjoyed it more than other hyped up films from the year.