Wish has a nice little dose of that classic Disney magic. There’s familiarity in the story, but you can’t hold that against the movie considering the ole Disney formula hasn’t really changed in a century. In the kingdom of Rosas, it’s a big day for Asha (Ariana DeBose). Not only does she have a very important interview with King Magnifico (Chris Pine) to be his next apprentice, but it’s also her grandfather’s (Victor Garber) 100th birthday. A wish ceremony is going down tonight and it may finally be his time to get his wish granted. Though, it’s a rude awakening for Asha once she meets Magnifico, who’s also a great sorcerer and hasn’t met a mirror he didn’t like. Her elation quickly turns into outrage after he reveals not everyone’s wish will be granted because they’re simply too dangerous, including her grandfather’s.
Every one hands over what’s in their heart to him when they turn 18 years-old and instantly forget about it. Magnifico has been hoarding wishes for who knows how long, being the only deciding factor of which wish comes true. Asha knows he’s lying about the threat of these wishes. She’s seen them for herself and they’re nothing but beautiful and hopeful. So she makes a wish of her own and – wouldn’t you know it? – it was upon a star! And that same unruly star comes a calling to alter Rosas forever.
Wish is a pleasing and inspiring fairy tale about community and the power of keeping your dreams alive. DeBose shines brightest voicing Asha, a dynamic new heroine who wishes for better days for all who call Rosas home. Of course, there must be an animal sidekick and Asha gets stuck with a little goat named Valentino (Alan Tudyk). His cuteness wears off in a hurry the moment he starts talking. Nothing like a goat who thinks he’s funny. My wish is for him to stuff his trap full of high-quality hay and be quiet. Thankfully, Star doesn’t say a word and is adorable. And evil is Pine’s middle name when voicing King Magnifico, one handsome devil as well as the denier of dreams. The arrival of Star pushes him to the brink of madness, even going as far as inviting forbidden magic into his mind, body, and soul. He’s a villain worth remembering.
As a lovely tribute to Disney’s 100 year legacy, directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn enchant and dazzle with stupendous animation, blending past and present styles exquisitely. It could have been funnier, but there are catchy songs (This Is The Thanks I Get?! and Knowing What I Know Now are fantastic!) and a plethora of Easter eggs for all who grew up with Walt’s company to adore. You could argue that Wish perhaps borrows too much from our childhood faves, but the references are done out of love while the movie itself stands on its own to be this neat origin story for the exemplary Disney animations that’s tightly locked inside their vault now.
Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association and the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.
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