Wish

U Blu-ray, DVD

With Disney celebrating an impressive 100 year anniversary, it was imperative that the title they released in the same year had to reflect not only the studio’s ethos, but also its legacy.

It’s a lot to ask of one title, so the pressure was on for their esteemed animation team to get it right. So did they get their Wish?

boom reviews Wish
I'm still trying to determine if this is animal cruelty or not.

Far, far away, on a Mediterranean island live the people of the kingdom of Rosas, under the leadership of their great king Magnifico (Chris Pine) and his queen Amaya (Angelique Cabral).

It is a big day for one of their subjects, Asha (Ariana DeBose), as she is about to be interviewed by her king, for the sought after position of being his apprentice. The king is also a sorcerer, who has the ability to make wishes come true, so having an apprentice will be useful for him, and an honour for whoever gets it.

Asha is keen to get the job, but the interview does not go well; she is made aware that the king’s intentions aren’t as pure as she believed them to be, which makes her think that he doesn’t have his peoples’ interests at heart after all. But as Asha soon finds, having a change of heart is one thing, but going against a powerful king is quite something else.

boom reviews  Wish
That's it, I want all the bubbles!!!

The House of Mouse has come under some scrutiny of late, with much of it down to their handling of franchises for both Marvel and Star Wars which they paid top dollar for.

Their animation departments have struggled too, with Disney-owned Pixar titles such as Onward, Soul and even Lightyear under-performing , as well as Disney titles Raya and the Last Dragon and Strange World not living up to expectations.

So Wish really had to hit that sweet spot, especially for such an important year for them. But sadly it didn’t, and although next exactly a bomb at the box office, it only made about $50 million or so in profit on its $200 million budget, meaning it was far from the success they desperately needed it to be.

You could say salt was rubbed into their wounds by the fact that it’s genuinely an enjoyable film.

Wish is clearly a throwback to Disney of old, with Asha the archetypal Disney princess facing adversity, in the form of an evil king. It has catchy songs, some beautiful animation, some talking woodland creatures and of course a dash of magic. So you can’t really ask more from a Disney title. However, it delivers a little more.

It is a legacy title with dual purpose; not only does it reinforce the classic Disney animation brand, it pays homage to it with a number of cute Easter eggs, many of which will be lost on its intended young audience, but will be enjoyed by those brought up on their classics. So when a certain deer is mentioned by name, you can’t help but feel a certain warm glow.

In fact it’s the perfect celebration for the studio’s landmark anniversary, not only with its colourful and cheery world, with a very capable princess in Asha, who sparkles with the vocal talent of DeBose, but reinforces the importance of wishes and dreams in its young audience, and the notion of having something to believe in, often in a dark world.

Haters will invariably hate, but Wish didn’t deserve their spiteful vitriol; perhaps they forgot what their seven year old selves would have made of it, that Disney magic being cast on the screen, and falling completely under its spell.

There’s no getting away from Disney struggling in the current entertainment landscape, but the enchanting Wish is everything you would want from a legacy title, embodying everything that made Disney great in the first place, and you couldn’t really have wished for more than that.

we give this four out of five