🎞️ When is Wish out in cinemas: 24 November, 2023
⭐️ Our rating: 4/5
🎭 Who's in it? Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Harvey Guillén.
👍 What we liked: The music is wonderful and performed well by the cast, with DeBose unsurprisingly proving to be the highlight. The narrative is fun, as are the nods to Disney's history.
👎 What we didn't: The combination of watercolours and 3D animation, whilst stunning, takes time to get accustomed to.
📖 What's it about? In the nation of Rosas everyone's wish has the chance to be granted by their ruler Magnifico, but when Asha learns of his true intentions she decides to wish upon a star who comes down from the sky to help her.
Wish follows Asha (Ariana DeBose), a young girl who meets with the king of Rosas, Magnifico (Chris Pine), to be interviewed to become his apprentice. Magnifico gives the people of the island nation hope that their wishes will be granted, but Asha learns that the king only chooses to grant wishes if they don't threaten his rule — with her 100-year-old grandfather's wish said to fall into that category.
As a result, Asha decides she must do what she can to free the wishes of the people of Rosas from Magnifico's clutches, but before she does she wishes on a star... only for the troublemaker star to come down from the sky in order to help her (and spread mischief along the way).
From Frozen co-creators Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, Raya and the Last Dragon writer Fawn Veerasunthorn, and Alison Moore, Wish is an empowering film about standing up for what you believe in.
Read more: Everything you need to know about Wish
It aptly highlights the magic within all of us (and Disney) through Asha's quest to bring justice but is also a delightfully charming film, especially thanks to the presence of Star and Asha's goat sidekick Valentino (voiced brilliantly by Alan Tudyk).
That being said, the story has a tendency to follow familiar narrative beats, making it easy to predict even if it is still an enjoyable watch. Given the company's long history, though, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that there are only so many ways in which to tell a story.
Speaking of Disney's centenary, Wish doubles as a celebration of the animation studio that has touched the lives of so many people. To do so, the film features 100 fun Easter eggs and references to the company's past projects which viewers will have fun trying to pick out on multiple viewings.
Wish also features a wonderful soundtrack from Julia Michaels, which is performed beautifully by its cast but particularly by DeBose whose powerful vocals bring Asha's plight to life onscreen. Highlights of the score include the catchy You're A Star, and At All Costs which sees DeBose and Pine sing opposite each other in stunning harmony.
The soundtrack may not have a song that is as much of an earworm as Frozen's Let It Go or Encanto's We Don't Talk About Bruno, but it is a delight nevertheless.
Wish's animation style is unique, using a mixture of watercolour backgrounds and 3D character designs to create the film's stand-out visuals. It will take time to get used to the contrasting art styles at first, but as the story kicks into high gear the artwork takes a life of its own.
What other critics think of Wish:
Not so much a fairy-tale as a corporate identity crisis (The Telegraph, 3-min read)
Ariana DeBose is a powerhouse in a musical that owns its Disney-ness (USA Today, 3-min read)
This combined with the film's stellar soundtrack, and a touching story makes Wish a charming celebration of a beloved brand.
Wish will be released in cinemas from Friday, 24 November.
Watch a featurette about the music from Wish: