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Disney’s Wish Review

Watch or Wait?
Canva+made+by+Gwynneth+Salazar+of+cover+art+for+Wish+movie.
Gwynneth Salazar
Canva made by Gwynneth Salazar of cover art for Wish movie.

Disney’s long-awaited 2D art style has again hit the screens in Wish, an enchanting story set in the mystical town of Rosas following 17-year-old Afro-Hispanic girl Asha. When she discovers a darkness to King Magnifico’s magic, which can grant a person’s deepest desire, Asha makes a wish on a wishing star and is given the power to reclaim the wishes of the kingdom. Although, as fans have slowly come to discover through this era of theatrical flops, there is something tainted about Disney’s magic itself, especially in Wish. Is it worth the watch?

So much can be said just about Wish’s unique art style. As a token of remembrance of its old, hand-drawn style, the movie attempts to implement 2D art in backgrounds and in unimportant or faraway characters while also using 3D styles for common, recurring objects like main characters. Fans have long requested this unforgettable aspect of Disney, the studio’s last 2D feature film was The Princess and the Frog. Backgrounds are made entirely in 2D to create a storybook feel while characters lay somewhere in between. When watching the movie, it was difficult to see this implemented, especially in fast-paced scenes. For the most part, characters exist completely in 3D, separating them from the film entirely and making the “finished product” appear dull and gray. As a 3D studio, Wish falters at incorporating this art technique into Wish.

The characters themselves had such amazing ideas to start with and seeing the “development” of them throughout the movie was disappointing. King Magnifico was easily my favorite character. From his eventual disconnected and out-of-touch personality to his unique character design, Magnifico has the recipe for a perfect Disney villain. Even so, he lacks where he could have been phenomenal. His original drive that fueled his will for good has already been done before in Encanto; Magnifico and Abuela Alma from Encanto both dealt with a great loss which pushed them to make sure no one would ever have to endure that same pain, hurting those around them. His reason for protecting his subjects was so vague, and while it might have had the same development as Encanto, I would have loved to see more of his backstory. 

When Asha mentions the passing of her father, I know the situation could be used to enhance and deepen her character. Losing someone close to you is a horrible experience and obviously requires growth, but her father and his death seem to be something that drives her to want something more than this fabricated life set out for her, and it’s hardly mentioned. The loss of a parent is such a burden that Asha carries and struggles with that many viewers could possibly relate to, though the movie hardly deals with the issue.

Films can convey real-world emotions and problems, and it was such a waste of detail to incorporate it and not take hold of the opportunity.

Films can convey real-world emotions and problems, and it was such a waste of detail to incorporate it and not take hold of the opportunity. Her character seemed bland and recycled with “adorkable” traits. Seeing all these characters interact is definitely an experience, but one that you feel excluded from. Without proper character development, it’s difficult to want any character to succeed or fail. 

One of the most hated parts of the movie was the soundtrack, and I couldn’t agree more. Even as Disney’s flop era has begun to produce worse movies each time, Disney musicals have always succeeded up to Wish. From the beginning of the studio’s history with Snow White to The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast to more recent productions like Frozen and Encanto, Disney has always created iconic hits. With such a rich history in this industry, Wish’s soundtrack was disappointing for the most part. Although, the opening song “Welcome to Rosas” was actually really fun. I liked the fast pace of it and most of the animation that accompanied it, some of the dancing sequences looked dull momentarily. The song introduces the main plot and characters well, introducing the eventual villain, King Magnifico, in a way that foreshadows his turn to evil. There were some eccentric lyrics I found odd or way too simple, but every five-year-old in the theater was laughing and Ariana DeBose’s voice, the voice for Asha, was exquisite in its power, so otherwise, the song was quite enjoyable. “At All Costs” pushed me to want to change my mind about the soundtrack. The song was able to be relayed to other situations, creating this universal message of the obligation and yearning to protect something you hold so dear. The vocals were absolutely breathtaking and the animation was so simple and so inspiring all at once.

“This Wish” is where the movie begins to falter in terms of music. DeBose’s voice makes me want to like this song, but the lyrics are completely irrelevant. The song suggests that Asha has already grown, which seems impossible so early in the film. The song’s point is so unclear and seems to be developed mostly for advertisements and not for the movie. There are no redeeming qualities for “I’m a Star.” The song develops a theme centered around connection and somehow also detachment and individuality while the overall theme of the movie seems to have to do with hope. It’s such a random and repetitive song that doesn’t feel unique; The Princess and the Frog’s “Dig a Little Deeper” shares a very similar scene with the song. “This Is The Thanks I Get” is easily the most hated song. Before the movie even premiered, people were confused by the repetitive nature of the song. I have very mixed feelings about it. The second half of the song piqued my interest as the lyrics, song, and animation began to fit in with the dangerous mood. The lyrics had begun to grow on me at this point and I really enjoyed the finale. Even so, the song lacks so much that it could have been great. The motif of King Magnifico’s benevolence and beauty becomes increasingly prevalent throughout the story and very much in the song. While this attribute is supposed to develop his villainous traits, his vanity comes off as annoying, especially with the random, unnecessary mentions in the song and throughout the story. And to add that sour little cherry on top, “Knowing What I Know Now” exists. As I mentioned, the movie lacks good character development, most likely because of its fast pace and obvious goal to squeeze in as much plot as possible. Throughout the entire song, you see these people growing and changing in the face of adversity, but can’t care for them; you don’t know them. 

If I were to sum up the entire movie in the simplest way I could, I’d call it “good enough.” Being a multibillion-dollar company that’s existed in the filmmaking industry for a century, Disney should be creating memorable and awe-inspiring movies. The movie was entirely out-of-touch and failed to make strides and take chances. For a movie considered “a century in the making,” I expected more. Wish is worth a watch, but wait for it to come out on Disney+.

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About the Contributor
Gwynneth Salazar
Gwynneth Salazar is a Freshman at San Marcos High School. She joined journalism to write and has since realized that she can’t necessarily write fictitious narratives on a newspaper staff.

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