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“Wish” Review: Why Yes, Disney Still Has Magic To Offer

“Wish” Review: Why Yes, Disney Still Has Magic To Offer

Why is everyone hating on “Wish?”

 

 

Disney’s Wish movie is supposed to be the result of 100 years of making magic—let’s say that again, an entire century. It’s supposed to be the Disney movie to end all Disney movies. The film that encapsulates all the classics and proves that Disney still very much has a place in our futures. And while the negative sentiments surrounding the film are coming out left and right, there’s no denying that Wish does have some magic tucked in there—maybe it’s just a little too expected.

 

 

Let’s talk about that synopsis. In the film, our main character Asha lives in the kingdom of Rosas, where King Magnifico and wife Queen Amaya rule over their happy-on-the-surface subjects. Why are they so happy? You see, King Magnifico is magic, and he has the power to grant people their most desired wish. But on every subject’s 18th birthday (or their first day in Rosas, if they’re immigrants), they must give their wishes to Magnifico. These wishes literally become glowing balls that float around Magnifico’s study.

 

And when Asha interviews to be Magnifico’s apprentice, she asks a pretty logical question: If not all these wishes will be granted, why not just give them back to the people of Rosas so that can personally try to achieve what their hearts desire without someone magically handing it to them?

 

 

Well, after Magnifico throws her out, Asha makes a wish that night, and a literal star (named Star) makes its way to Rosas. Star is cute, bubbly and gets into all sorts of trouble. And have I mentioned that Star magic? Well, magic enough to make Valentino the goat talk and for everyday items to dance. 

 

But Star can’t make everything better. It’s up to Asha and her band of loved ones to stop Magnifico and restore genuine (not literal) magic to Rosas.

 

 

I know I’m sounding sarcastic, but that’s only because the narrative of Wish is not only flawed, but it takes the Disney ethos of making magic far too literally. The film does not present a magical experience in the way that the classics (still) do, and doesn’t pull at the heart like Encanto or Coco. But is it awful? Not at all. 

 

The characters are lovable; Valentino is that quirky animal sidekick that every Disney protagonist needs, and Star, while questionable, is honestly endearing. Asha’s journey might not be deep and empowering for 2023, but she’s a 17-year-old girl who’s trying to figure things out. And King Magnifico is a self-absorbed villain whose color palette is green (why are people hating on this little feature, BTW? There was a meme pointing this out that millions positively engaged with).

 

And, of course, there are the songs and dance numbers. Some are enjoyable but ultimately fall flat, and there are others that really soar. Are we looking at a Best Original Song here? Probably not; but the lack of an award or nomination does not make a song.

 

 

What I’m trying to say is that Wish may not be what we expect from a powerhouse like Disney, particularly because it’s supposed to celebrate 100 years, but it is a Disney movie. And being that it deserves to be called such, there is magic there. 

 

You just can’t be so cynical about it. Didn’t we all enjoy The Little Mermaid (to be clear, the 1989 one) a little bit more when we hadn’t realized how young and naïve Ariel actually was? Didn’t we like Sleeping Beauty more before we came to the conclusion that she doesn’t actually do anything? Didn’t we all enjoy our trips to Disney Land (or Disney World if you were lucky) before we actually had to pay for our tickets? 

 

Look, we’re not kids anymore. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a little bit of magic when the opportunity presents itself.

 

 

Art James Francisco

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