Wish Movie Review: A Disney Movie for Every Generation of Fans

by | Nov 24, 2023 | Disney Movies

We’re sharing our full review of the Disney movie Wish, which tells the story of Asha, a young woman living in the kingdom of wishes, Rosas.

Once upon a time, two brothers traveled from Missouri to California with little more than the clothes on their backs and a dream to start a studio. The brothers were Walt and Roy Disney who established the “Disney Brothers Studio” in 1923 and has certainly gone on to surpass their wildest dreams, entertaining generations of families around the world. From the creation of enduring pop culture icons such as Mickey Mouse to revolutionary animated masterworks like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it’s hard to overstate the impact left by Disney and it all started with animation. Wish, a dazzling new animated musical, is the culmination of 100 years of Disney storytelling, animation techniques, and thematic explorations.  

Disney Wish Movie Review

Asha (Ariana DeBose), is a young woman living in the magical island kingdom of Rosas, led by the benevolent King Magnifico (Chris Pine), a sorcerer with the power to grant the wishes of his people. When she senses darkness in the kingdom, she turns her wishes to the stars, and along with her loyal goat sidekick, Valentino (Alan Tudyk), and an adorable sentient wishing star, Asha must save Rosas and with it all of the wishes held therein. 

A Blend of 2D and 3D

The animation is evidently gorgeous and once the eyes acclimate to the unique visual palette of Rosas and its surrounding areas, Wish is such a rich and rewarding viewing experience. By bringing together generations of Disney artists and animators, the result is a stunning blend of 2D and 3D animation techniques, with characters populating stunning watercolour-inspired backgrounds and environments.

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Photo Courtesy of Disney

There are so many visual nods to other Disney animated films and characters and with such intricate design in every detail, it’s easy to appreciate the effort of the animation team on full display. Since the days of Tangled and Frozen, Disney Animation Studios has kept a fairly uniform look in terms of characters and aesthetics across their recent animated catalog, so it is refreshing to see this kind of worthwhile experimentation that demands the scale of the big screen to fully appreciate. 

An Undeniably Catchy Soundtrack

What would a 100th-anniversary celebration be without the iconic Disney songs to accompany these images? They are a key ingredient to the formula and with such an important film, a daunting task, no doubt. Wish carries on the legacy of Disney’s legendary musicals which have seen contributions from the likes of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) to Elton John (The Lion King) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana, Encanto).

The songs of Wish were written by Julia Michaels, a prolific pop songwriter best known for her collaborations with Selena Gomez and Benjamin Rice, a music producer with a similar background in the world of radio pop. As a result, many of Wish’s songs have an undeniable catchiness to them, with melodies and vocal motifs that are sure to stick. However, by and large, they lack a strong sense of personality and identity and some of the lyrical content is vague in a way that paints our characters in broad generalities. 

disney wish movie review

Photo Courtesy of Disney

“This Wish” is the central ballad of the film, sung by the incredibly talented, Oscar-winning Ariana DeBose. A classic example of the Disney “want” song and the strongest musical sequence here. “I’m a Star”, another notable standout, is an ensemble number with Asha singing alongside an endearing chorus of anthropomorphic woodland creatures and plants, with plenty of visual gags for good measure. It’s a light, enjoyable song with sincere messages of empowerment and acceptance, balanced with a good sense of humor throughout. Meanwhile, “This Is the Thanks I Get?!” is the more polarizing villain song, performed with devilish charm by Chris Pine’s King Magnifico, poking fun at his vanity, ego and leadership style as the ruler of Rosas. The lyrics and musicality are much more tongue-in-cheek than overtly menacing and it shares more in common tonally with a song like “Gaston” as opposed to “Be Prepared”. 

Disney’s Wish Movie Review: A Celebration of Disney’s 100th Anniversary

Wish is a film worthy of Disney’s 100th anniversary, equal parts culmination and celebration. Despite a safe and straightforward narrative, the work of directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn stands out thanks to the bold visual direction and strong and memorable characters, with the likes of Asha, Valentino, and King Magnifico destined to be instant fan favorites.

With plenty of nods, references, and easter eggs pointing to their animated classics of the past (most notably Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, and Peter Pan, to name a few), there is something for every generation of Disney fans to admire and appreciate. A hit-or-miss soundtrack prevents it from standing shoulder to shoulder with the Disney Renaissance giants or even some recent hits, but it suits the film and characters well and gives audiences something warm and familiar with a shiny new coat of paint. Here’s to the next 100 years!

Posts by Nicholas Janzen

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Nicholas is a lifelong Disney fan and movie fan. After graduating with a BA in Film Studies, he has been writing about movies and producing social media content specializing in movies, TV and entertainment news. Follow him on TikTok & Instagram @nicholasjanzen
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Authored by
Nicholas Janzen

Nicholas is a lifelong Disney fan and movie fan. After graduating with a BA in Film Studies, he has been writing about movies and producing social media content specializing in movies, TV and entertainment news. Follow him on TikTok & Instagram @nicholasjanzen
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