Wish review: Disney's centenary movie delivers magical songs but lacks enchanting story

3 / 5 stars

Wish review. Disney's 100th anniversary animated musical movie starring Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine features magical songs, humour and animation but lacks story and characters with depth.

Disney's Wish official trailer directed Chris Buck

After a century of animation, knew they had to deliver something special for the company’s 100th anniversary. 

Enter Wish, the latest musical fantasy movie from the House of Mouse, with its special focus on the origin of the famous “wish upon a star”.

Frozen co-directors and writer Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee were brought in for the ultimate Disney tribute movie, but the end result is sadly something of a mixed bag.

Wish follows Asha (Ariana DeBose) in her interview to be the sorcerer’s apprentice to the monarch Magnifico (Chris Pine).

The Wizard King has the ability to grant wishes to each resident of the Kingdom of Rosas who give him one when they turn 18.

wish poster

Wish hits UK cinemas on Friday (Image: DISNEY)

Once a month Magnifico selects a citizen’s wish to be granted, but it turns out he actually erases their memories and never returns the unwanted wishes to his people. Nevertheless, Asha ends up getting help from an actual star she wishes on, to save the kingdom and defeat the tyrannical villain.

Sadly this storyline and its characters are pretty thin, lacking in inspiration and struggled to keep our attention or interest throughout. It feels like Disney were so focused on a paint-by-numbers tribute to their fantasy musical movies that they forgot to sprinkle on the magic.

Despite this, there are aspects of Wish to be praised and enjoyed, the fruit of clearly a lot of hard work by the CG animators and music team.

Firstly, the movie's animation has received a lot of criticism online, but it’s really missing the point. It’s a CG-animated film which takes a leaf from the Spider-Verse blockbusters by having a 2D traditional look that beautifully pays tribute to the original way these movies were made.

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asha, star and magnifico

Wish review: Disney's 100th anniversary movie delivers magical songs but not story (Image: DISNEY)

Secondly, we laughed a lot. There are some great comic moments here, especially from Alan Tudyk’s talking goat Valentino, in some really fun set pieces during energetic musical numbers.

Speaking of which, where Wish really shines is its songs. New musicals can take time to cotton on to, but Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice’s songs with Dave Metzger’s score really work well. 

Catchy tracks like This Wish and our favourite, This Is The Thanks I Get?!, are also all the more aided by DeBose and Pine’s excellent vocals.

Lastly, look out for those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter eggs linked to classic Disney movies near the end, giving a nod to all that came before. It's just a shame that, all in all, Wish doesn't quite live up to the studio's legacy.

Wish hits UK cinemas on Friday.

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