Ariana DeBose as Asha
"Ariana DeBose as Asha," Wish, directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, 2023, (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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General Information

Director(s)

Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn 

Screenplay By

Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore

Based On Story By

Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn, Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore

Date Released (Advanced Screening)

Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore

Date Released (Wide)

November 22, 2023

Released Via

In Theaters

Genre(s)

Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Young Adult, Animation, Musical

Film Length

1 Hour 35 Minutes

Content Rating

Rated PG

Noted Characters and Cast

King Magnifico

Chris Pine

Amaya

Angelique Cabral

Asha

Ariana DeBose

Valentino

Alan Tudyk

Film Summary

In the Mediterranean Kingdom of Rosas, King Magnifico rules seemingly as a gracious leader. With losing his family due to chaos and violence, he knows too well the need for a peaceful world. So, with his wife Amaya, they rule over Rosas, which has been in peace for generations.

However, one potential key to that peace is Magnifico, a sorcerer, collecting the wishes of his people. Occasionally, he will grant wishes, but it appears he holds wishes out of fear of anyone’s ability to potentially use their wish and desires to lead to what caused members of his family to die.

Enter Asha, who didn’t know the truth behind the scheme of collecting everyone’s greatest wish when they turn 18, and once she finds out, she seemingly is unable to accept the truth and seeks to get her mother and grandfather’s wish back, even if that means exposing the king and potentially disrupting the peace he so meticulously curated.

Content Rating Explanation

  • Dialog: Nothing notable
  • Violence: Some violence, but no blood
  • Sexual Content: None
  • Miscellaneous: Nothing notable

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.

King Magnifico

Chris Pine as King Magnifico
“Chris Pine as King Magnifico,” Wish, directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, 2023, (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

With the loss of his family, King Magnifico searched for various forms of magic to protect himself and the family he had left and later founded a kingdom in the Mediterranean for others who sought safety from the ails of the outside world.

Amaya

Amaya is King Magnifico’s wife who advocates for Asha to become the King’s assistant, setting what happens in the movie in motion.

Asha

Ariana DeBose as Asha
“Ariana DeBose as Asha,” Wish, directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, 2023, (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Years separated from the loss of her dad and now living with her mom and paternal grandfather, Asha is a 17-year-old with hopes and dreams, of which, with not giving her wish over to King Magnifico, she hasn’t become a borderline zombie due to handing over her greatest desire.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “I.S.S (2023).”

Valentino

Valentino is Asha’s pet goat whose wish is to be able to speak, and he spends most of his movie as comic relief.

Discussion Items

Let us know your thoughts in the comments:

  1. Do you prefer your villains as pure evil, with justifiable intentions, or misunderstood?
  2. What’s your favorite Disney villain song? I’m stuck between “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and “I Got Friends On The Otherside.” If we go outside of Disney, “Toxic Love” by Tim Curry, for the “Ferngully” soundtrack is tops.

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Notable Performances or Moments

The Songs In Which Ariana DeBose Is Lead

“This Wish” made me cry. I don’t know why, for it isn’t necessarily a complicated or hard-hitting song, but between the situations it is used in and maybe just the talents of Ariana DeBose as a singer, I got emotional. The same goes for the revolutionary song “Knowing What I Know Now,” which could easily lend itself to the upcoming political season and be a rallying cry.

Highlight

Potential Commentary On Society

This is me trying to dig deep here: I think, in many ways, “Wish” does show what happens when you let dreams and wishes die. For in King Magnifico’s society, you give up your wish at 18 and hand it to him in hopes he may grant it. Many of us hand over our wishes, dreams, and desires into other people’s hands, expecting them to do right by us while we toil away to pay bills and handle responsibilities.

Yet as shown by one of Asha’s friends, who just turned 18 and gave up their wish, it’s easy to feel like you are without purpose and just a cog when you don’t have something driving you. And adulthood, even if you are as joyous as Asha’s grandpa, can feel like it is missing something because you never obtained that dream.

So, while I wouldn’t say “Wish” goes as deep as other Disney or Pixar films, like “Encanto” with the immigrant experience, there can be more than meets the eye.

Low Points

Valentino Is More Of An Obligation Than Asset

Let me begin by saying, the kids in the audience seemed to get a kick out of Valentino. However, as an adult used to the formula animated films have in which there is always a smart-talking or silly sidekick for the lead, Valentino feels like an obligation. He cracks jokes and tries to make situations lighter but rarely offers insight or a thought that gives the situation depth or a different perspective. He’s all comic relief, and his existence seems to be for nothing more than to sell merchandise.

On The Fence

Clear and Sometimes Gratuitous Disney References

With it being Disney’s 100th anniversary, it seems “Wish” was made partly to highlight various characters. Peter Pan makes an appearance. We see the dress of one of the early Disney princesses. There is mention of the wish that would have led to Mary Poppins arriving, even though this movie seems to be in a different time period and so many other easter eggs, which usually require you to be eagle-eyed and listen out for hints. But when it comes to “Wish,” there is little effort to make references or moments special.

The Villain and Their Motive

It’s understood the unfortunately named Magnifico is the type of villain who exists because of the trauma he went through. His family was killed off, and his family history was almost destroyed, so he fears the unknown. Yet, how quickly he gives into this form of big evil and how easily he gets defeated, it undercuts him. How are you going to build up his powers, talk about this one book like Lucifer wrote it himself, and then have him defeated by a damn song?

Oh, and can I just say, his villain song is probably one of the worst of any Disney villain.

It Often Feels Inspired vs. Inspirational

Often, “Wish” feels like it borrows or is inspired by other Disney movies. The “Welcome to Rosas” opening song will give you “Encanto” vibes. The way Magnifico handles wishes and sings about them will trigger memories of Ursula. The Star that works with Asha, it makes you think Jiminy Cricket is going to pop out of somewhere and start singing “When You Wish Upon A Star,” and between the dead parent, the obligatory animal, the pack of friends that include one weirdo, there comes a point where “Wish” feels like it works off a checklist of things that worked in the past. Thus creating less so an original film and more so a Frankenstein-esque film which may have an original story and characters but too much that seems too familiar.

Also Worth Mentioning

  • Asha’s hair physics are terrible

Who Is This For?

“Wish” is for those who like Disney musicals but are willing to give this film the grace needed to not compare it to the films it references and is inspired by.

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Encanto
  2. Frozen
  3. Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.


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Wish (2023) – Movie Review

Summary

“Wish” feels more in line to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary as it borrows and reminds us of the various characters and stories that allowed this empire to exist, rather than feel like a standalone film that can be considered whole and inspirational.

Overall
74%
74%
  • The Songs In Which Ariana DeBose Is Lead - 85%
    85%
  • Potential Commentary On Society - 82%
    82%
  • Valentino Is More Of An Obligation Than Asset - 65%
    65%
  • Clear and Sometimes Gratuitous Disney References - 73%
    73%
  • The Villain and Their Motive - 71%
    71%
  • It Often Feels Inspired vs. Inspirational - 72%
    72%
  • Asha’s hair physics are terrible - 69%
    69%
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Highlight(s)

  • Potential Commentary On Society
  • The Songs In Which Ariana DeBose Is Lead

Disputable

  • Asha’s hair physics are terrible
  • It Often Feels Inspired vs. Inspirational
  • The Villain and Their Motive
  • Clear and Sometimes Gratuitous Disney References
  • Valentino Is More Of An Obligation Than Asset

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