Disney’s “Wish” is the ultimate self-referential Disney movie

Disney's New Movie 'Wish' Slammed

Disney’s “Wish” continues the studio’s unparalleled legacy of self-replication, delivering a film that seamlessly blends nostalgia with innovation. Recognizing the enduring success of their familiar formula, Disney presents a story set in the Kingdom of Rosas, ruled by King Magnifico (Chris Pine), who wields the power to fulfill the wishes of his subjects. However, beneath the benevolent facade lies a darker truth that unravels when Asha (Ariana DeBose) challenges Magnifico’s authority, setting the stage for a quest that intertwines Disney’s classic themes with a contemporary narrative.

Directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, and penned by Jennifer Lee and Allison Moore, “Wish” weaves a tapestry of references to Disney’s vast catalog. The film’s clever incorporation of nods to classics like Dumbo, Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Bambi strikes a delicate balance, offering audiences a sense of familiarity while forging a new path in storytelling. The result is a movie that acknowledges its roots while carving out its unique space in the Disney universe.

The film’s musical landscape, featuring six main songs, elevates the emotional resonance of the narrative. Songs like the captivating “This Wish” not only pay homage to Disney’s musical tradition but also stand as independent, memorable pieces. The opening number, “Welcome to Rosas,” echoes the spirit of Encanto’s “The Family Madrigal” while infusing its own distinct flavor. Through its music, “Wish” captures the essence of Disney’s timeless appeal.

Wish movie review & film summary (2023) | Roger Ebert

The animation in “Wish” achieves a level of sophistication that has become synonymous with Disney. A combination of 2D and 3D styles creates a visual spectacle, paying tribute to the studio’s past while showcasing its current capabilities. Particularly noteworthy is the animation of Asha, where different techniques applied to her hair and face make her a focal point, highlighting the film’s attention to detail.

Ariana DeBose, whose star has been rising since her time in the Hamilton ensemble and her recent Oscar win for West Side Story, delivers a standout performance as Asha. Chris Pine, in an unexpected singing role as King Magnifico, proves his versatility, while Alan Tudyk, lending his voice to Asha’s pet goat, Valentino, adds another layer of charm to the film.

While some may critique “Wish” for leaning heavily on Disney’s past, it’s essential to recognize that Disney has always embraced and celebrated its own history. Rather than a weakness, this aspect has been a key factor in the studio’s enduring popularity. “Wish” stands as a testament to Disney’s ability to honor its legacy while evolving with the times.

Why Wish Movie Has So Many Disney Easter Eggs, Explained by Filmmakers  (Exclusive)

In conclusion, “Wish” is set to enchant audiences with its combination of heartfelt storytelling, musical prowess, and visual splendor. As the film opens in theaters on November 22, it promises to be another jewel in Disney’s crown, inviting both new and seasoned fans to experience the magic of a studio that continues to define the essence of family entertainment.

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