Review by Dan Skip Allen
Disney is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, and they have been taking out all the stops. Their films, on the other hand, haven't been doing as well as they'd hoped. Their latest offering from Disney Animation, one of the building blocks of their studio, is Wish. They've made dozens of great animated films in their hundred-year history, and hope this is another film in their storied history. For their sake, it better be good because they need to rescue their lackluster year as a whole.
Asha (Ariana Debose) is a young girl who has her life all figured out. She has a happy family and a group of friends she loves and cares about. She even has a pet goat. The only thing that would make her life better is if she got the assistant job to King Magnifico (Chris Pine) she is vying for. The only problem is when she finally meets the man she thinks will change her life — he isn't what she'd hoped he would be like. In fact, he was a bit of a fraud, and she hoped to reveal his true nature to the townspeople of Rosas.
Disney has made dozens of princess movies or films featuring female protagonists such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle. They all have one thing in common: they have a feisty personality and try to defeat evil in some way. That's exactly the type of character Asha is. Even though she has a caring heart, she has a drive to prove that the people in her town deserve better than what they've got regarding their king and leader of their community. She goes out into the woods and does what any girl her age and in her situation would do: wish upon a star. That is a pretty familiar line from the Disney anthem. Go figure it would play a major role in this film.
Directors Fawn Veerasunthorn and Chris Buck have infused this film with more Disney magic than can be imagined — literally and figuratively. The plot suggests you should wish upon a star, and everything will be alright. Your wish will come true, and you'll live happily ever after. That's the motto of Disney itself. As an added bonus, the filmmaker threw in a lot of Disney cameos and Easter eggs referring to the Disney classics from the past. This movie is a glorified tribute to the 100-year history of Disney Animation.
As mentioned, Disney has been making animated films for quite a while. Steamboat Willie was the first with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs shortly thereafter. They take pride in reinventing themselves, like they did in the late ‘80s and ‘90s with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, The Lion King, and many others soon afterwards that were among the best they've ever made. Wish advances their animation again with a vivid colorful look with well-defined characters and a depth and layering that creates a gorgeous animated film, and one of the year's best by far. This is a definite Academy Award contender for animated features at next year's Oscars.
One of the stalwarts of Disney animated films is the music and the songs that accompany their films. This one has a few memorable songs, such as “Welcome to Rosas,” “This Wish,” and “This Is the Thanks I Get?!” These songs and the music of the film from Dave Metsger are very catchy. They are sure to be sung by kids and adults alike this holiday season. They are infused into the narrative nicely, and “This Wish” in particular has a good shot at being nominated for Best Song come next year's Academy Awards. It has a beautiful message a lot of people can get behind. Moms and dads should let their kids hear this as often as possible.
Wish is another success as far as I'm concerned from Disney Animation. It has a great message of hope and dreams, and standing up for others, as well as what you believe in. There is a very relatable protagonist voiced by Ariana DeBose, who is an amazing singer in her own right and villain voiced by Pine. The songs are terrific and surely will catch on with kids and families that see the movie over the holidays. The animation is some of the best of the year thus far. This film will surely garner much awards attention later this year and next. The main reason I loved this movie so much is that it was a love letter to all the great Disney films of the past 100 years.
Wish hits theaters on November 22.