Disney’s Wish celebrates the legacy of the company with pure magic, powerful and catchy songs, and a truly terrifying villain. It’s an instant classic!
Wish is sure to be an instant hit with Disney fans all around the world because of the incredible music, the stunning animation, the phenomenal cast performances, and the heartwarming story that truly embodies what Disney magic is.
Disney’s Wish somehow feels both familiar and unique, in the sense that it fully embraces classic Disney while still giving fans something new and exciting. Of course, the most obvious is the animation style, which is absolutely stunning and begs to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
At the same time, we are given a truly villainous villain, and it feels like it has been a while since one has graced us with their presence in a Disney film. Chris Pine is phenomenal at King Magnifico, making him very easy to love to hate. It was apparent from the trailer that he might not have the best of intentions, but you have seen nothing yet.
Magnifico could just be one of the most terrifying Disney villains we have had in a while. He is a little bit Gaston, and a little bit Jafar, and a lot of something new. He brings his own flair to the Disney villain, and fans are going to love him. As always, the villains do not think they are the villain of their story, and there is certainly some grey area mixed in, making him all the more hair-raising.
In true Disney fashion there is an adorable sidekick in Wish, but this time we get two — both Star and Valentino offer up humor in the film, while also making things easy for the merchandising team (trust us, you will want to own both plushes after watching). Valentino is voiced by Alan Tudyk, who has been a part of Disney Animation films for some time. His delivery helps make Valentino one of the funniest characters of the film, who is always there to give viewers a hearty laugh.
But they aren’t Asha’s only sidekicks. She has a group of seven friends, which very clearly are a nod to the Seven Dwarfs. Not only do the wear the same colors as Sneezy, Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Sleepy, Happy, and Grumpy, each of their names starts with the first letter of their respective inspirations.
Jennifer Kumiyama is Asha’s dearest friend, Dahlia, who’s an accomplished baker and unofficial leader of their group. Evan Peters is the strong guy with a big heart and bigger yawn, Simon. Harvey Guillén is Gabo, who may be cynical, but he has a heart of gold. Ramy Youseff is Safi, who’s plagued by allergies. Niko Vargas is Asha’s joyful, always smiling buddy, Hal. Della Saba is the seemingly shy teenager, Bazeema, who’s full of surprises. Jon Rudnitsky is Asha’s rosy-cheeked, wiggly-eared pal, Dario.
Many online have speculated that they will have a minimal part in the film, and only be there as a quick reference to the classic film. We can assure you, this is not at all the case. In fact, they are quite a major part of the story, and of Asha’s journey.
What better way to celebrate 100 years of Disney than with a musical. And the music in Wish is not only catchy and fun, there are some truly touching and powerful songs as well. This Wish is going to be the next Let It Go. Mark our words. As with any musical, the songs drive the narrative forward, which is important when you have a film that clocks in at around ninety minutes. There is almost always that one song that listeners will skip on an album or soundtrack. Wish somehow doesn’t have that song.
There are seven of them and each and every one is a great listen. From This Wish, Ariana DeBose’s power ballad, to This Is The Thanks I Get, King Magnifico’s true decent into evil, to the fun and whimsical I’m A Star, there is something for everyone in this movie. All of these songs are key parts of the story and will have viewers singing along and tapping their toes to the beat.
Choosing Ariana as the voice of Asha was a brilliant choice by Disney casting. She is an absolute powerhouse of a singer, and lends her vocals to what are surely some of the best songs of the year.
The unique animation might seem completely new, but we have seen it before — think arguably Disney’s best short, Paperman. Of course, the technology has advanced and it has been perfected and adjusted, but that is where it all stemmed from. While these still images from Wish are clearly beautiful, they do not do the animation any justice at all. There is something about watching it move and play out on the screen that is pure magic.
At the same time, the classic “Disney” look is there too, just peer into Asha’s face and you will recognize the eyes, nose, and mouth, we are used to seeing. This is not a bad thing at all, rather just a signature Disney look, that always shines through in their work.
You can’t have a Disney film celebrating 100 years of the studio without slipping in some Easter eggs, nods, and references to prior projects. Wish doesn’t linger on any of them for too long, and they don’t take over the movie making it feel like fan service, but they are there if you know where to look.
This movie takes place many, many years ago. While we don’t want to dive too deep into what that means for fear of spoiling things, just know that certain things that happen in Wish could have easily paved the way and shaped the Disney world into what fans know and love.
The story itself is full of inspiration, whimsy, suspense, and heart. In Rosas, when someone turns 18 or moves to the city, they give their wish to King Magnifico for safe keeping. He then decides, on a case by case basis, which of them will be granted. Asha, a young 17-year old girl, wishes upon a star one day and her wish is so powerful, and that very star comes to life. Her baby goat companion gets the ability to talk because of Star, and what follows is a journey filled with hope and magic, but also danger, as Magnifico feels threatened.
There is also a lot of humor, largely in part because of Star and Valentino who have the perfect delivery. Asha’s group of friends also offer some comedic moments, as does Asha herself. However, Asha is mostly there to be a beacon of light and hope for those around her, and we aren’t complaining. One of the most powerful and inspirational Disney leads, everyone is sure to fall in love with her.
Disney’s Wish is the perfect way to celebrate 100 years of magic because it focuses on what so many Disney stories do — hope, wishes, and magic. The music is not only catchy, but performed incredibly as well. The soundtrack is comparable to Frozen, and has the potential to be just as popular.
The cast is phenomenal, the story inspiring, and the animation stunning. Magnifico is one of the greatest Disney villains, taking slight inspiration from those of the past, but also bringing something new to the table.
Wish delivers on all fronts, giving fans a whole lot to love, and we think it will be an instant hit.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wish” is an all-new musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star.
Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
Featuring the voices of Academy Award®-winning actor Ariana DeBose as Asha, Chris Pine as Magnifico, and Alan Tudyk as Asha’s favorite goat, Valentino, the film is helmed by Oscar®-winning director Chris Buck (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (“Raya and the Last Dragon”), and produced by Peter Del Vecho (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) and Juan Pablo Reyes Lancaster Jones (“Encanto”). Jennifer Lee (“Frozen,” “Frozen 2”) executive produces—Lee and Allison Moore (“Night Sky,” “Manhunt”) are writers on the project.
With original songs by Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/musician Benjamin Rice, plus score by composer Dave Metzger, “Wish” opens only in theaters on Nov. 22, 2023.
You Might Also Enjoy...
Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.