In Disney’s latest film, Wish, we are transported to a fictional land. Iberian – called the Kingdom of Rosas – is ruled by King Magnifico (Chris Pine) and his wife Queen Amaya (Angelique Carbal). Magnifico’s country is based on the power of granting wishes to his citizens, keeping them all, and having “wish ceremonies” to pick which will come true. Among the many wishers is teenager Asha (voiced by Ariana DeBose), whose grandfather turns 100 years old and wants his wish granted before he dies. Being a civil servant within the castle, she has the chance to get King Magnifico to pick her grandfather for the upcoming wish ceremony.
In a case of, “Be careful what you wish for,” Asha learns the reality of Magnifico’s power, which is not all good. He desires complete autocracy and to make his people bend to his will to everything. Asha, aware of the danger, finds luck in the form of a cute falling star who helps her out. A bit of magic dust and Asha’s goat, Valentino (voiced by Alan Tudyk), begins speaking while Magnifico tells his people that someone is guilty of dark magic. Asha’s job is to convince her fellow civil servants of the real truth and then try to stop Magnifico from capturing the star and using dark magic completely.
The story of Wish feels more like a tribute to Disney’s early masterpieces. Strong elements from Snow White And The Seven Dwarves and Pinocchio are felt. It may not be original, but this is fine with its brisk 95-minute running time. It sticks with its basics. DeBose brings her A-game acting and singing. Pine fills the villainous shoes with dark charisma, like a power-hungry man to the tenth degree. Tudyk, a mainstay of Disney’s voice actors the past decade, gives the proper comic relief in his line deliveries but a milder version of Eddie Murphy as Donkey from Shrek. However, he does not overdo it, giving it the right amount of touch of a strong Disney film.
Honoring a full centenary of Disney movies, Wish incorporates computer animation with traditional hand-drawn color animation for a well-balanced look that pays tribute to its predecessors. The Easter eggs are cleverly placed, but a keen eye can catch it. Dave Metzger comes in with a magical score, and the songs written by Grammy Award-nominee Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice give an elixir that has made the consistent magic Disney specializes. Directors Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn (in her directorial debut), plus Frozen trilogy writer Jennifer Lee (with fellow co-writer Allison Moore) highlight the legacy of what Walt Disney Animation has put out for a whole century.