Honoring the 100-year history of Disney Animation, WISH is a beautiful, meaningful homage to the lasting inspirations from all Disney films. As always, this movie is a testament to the talented artists who bring these stories to life in the most glorious ways. HHH
Asha (voiced by Ariana DeBose) is a confident, driven 17-year-old living on the magical --- and fictional --- island of Rosas at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. She is determined to have her 100-year-old grandfather, Sabino’s (voiced by Victor Garber), wish granted by King Magnifico (voiced by Chris Pine) at the monthly wish-granting ceremony.
She applies for the job of Magnifico’s apprentice, and she is crushed when she learns that not everyone’s wish will ever be granted. If a wish is too big or too enterprising and Magnifico feels threatened, the wish will never come true. Such is the case with Sabino’s wish.
Not backing down, Asha makes her wish upon a star --- and not just any star. She and her father, when he was alive, would sit in a tree at the water’s edge and gaze at the stars. So, when Asha sings her desire --- a bright ball of light appears --- a simple, single entity called Star. Together, Asha, Star and Asha’s motley group of friends work to undo
Magnifico’s new brand of evil sorcery.
WISH is just a gorgeous movie all around. The denizens of Rosas are diverse and richly characterized. The seven new songs written by Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice are lovely, offering the hope and inspiration so central to all Disney films. And of course, the CG animation is superb, utilizing the watercolor storybook style of much earlier Disney productions like SNOW WHITE and the SEVEN DWARFS (1937) or PINOCCHIO (1940).
And what would a Disney-animated movie be without a beloved sidekick? WISH introduces Valentino (voiced by Alan Tudyk), Asha’s hilarious goat. He’s absolutely adorable, as is Star, who doesn’t speak but offers a multitude of emotions through its expressions. The children will love Star.
Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn have done a marvelous job directing this rather large cast and crew. WISH is exciting, fun entertainment for the entire family. Don’t miss it this holiday season!
Opinion: See It Now!
Walt Disney Animation Studios couldn’t have created a better film to commemorate its 100th anniversary than WISH! The filmmakers pack everything into a concise 95-minute package: a terrific storyline, wonderful animation and toe-tapping original songs, in addition to a celebrated voice cast.
Academy Award winner Ariana DeBose (WEST SIDE STORY, 2021) voices Asha, the 17-year-old heroine of the fictional island called Rosas. It is here where people from all over the world deposit their wishes which are safeguarded by King Magnifico (Chris Pine, whose voice performance is flawless.), or so everyone believes.
The truth is that King Magnifico is a domineering, egotistical fraud who uses his oozing charm and good looks to deceive the good people of Rosas. But Asha, after applying for the job of Magnifico’s chief apprentice, comes to realize the truth about this megalomaniac. And she will not sit still while people’s wishes are put on hold until Magnifico decides when they will be granted --- if at all.
Asha is an absolutely perfect role model for young girls. Her facial expressions are priceless, and with the voice of DeBose performing the songs --- it’s pure delight. Of the variety of original music, my favorite is one called “Knowing What I Know Now” by songwriter Benjamin Rice. David Metzger composed the original score for the film.
Asha’s motivation in the movie is to ensure her grandfather Sabino (voiced by Victor Garber) gets his wish fulfilled for his 100th birthday. The script by writer and co-director Chris Buck (Oscar for FROZEN), writer Jennifer Lee (Oscar for FROZEN as co-director with Buck) and Allison Moore is the epitome of good vs. evil, but more importantly the sentiment of hope is alive and well.
An energy force called Star becomes Asha’s guide for everything she does in WISH. Star doesn’t speak, just hovers in the air looking precious. Another key character is Asha’s pet goat, Valentino (voiced by Alan Tudyk). Prior to being imbued with a deep, male voice, look closely or you may miss Valentino sticking his tongue out at King Magnifico. A couple of other key characters are Magnifico’s wife, Queen Amaya (voiced by Angelique Cabral), and Simon (voiced by Evan Peters), a nerdy, shy guy who has a brief stint as a knight supporting Magnifico.
There is much to like about WISH. The vibrant colors, the catchy songs, the well-choreographed dance routines --- for me, it is one of the best-ever animated feature films by Disney Studios.
Opinion: Strong See It Now!