Review: 'Wish' is Disney's tribute on magical 100 years; if only the magic was prevalent in the film though

Disney doesn't always get it right. The studio known for its impeccable track record has witnessed some major blips lately, but even then, there's always hope.

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Kunal Kothari

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Disney doesn't always get it right. The studio known for its impeccable track record has witnessed some major blips lately, but even then, there's always hope. Its latest film, Wish, comes at a point where it acts as a tribute to Disney on completing 100 magical years of turning animation into emotions. If only this magic were prevalent in the film, though. Positioned as an old-fashioned fairytale, Wish is the saga in the city of Rosas, where we know about how a young man became Magnifico and had a format where the inhabitants of Rosas when they turn 18 would give him their wish for safekeeping, whereafter they would forget it but also be hopeful as Magnifico would have sporadic glimpses of granting someone's wishes.

This entire dynamic changes when we have a young Asha coming into being eighteen and actually understanding Magnifico's real motives and reasoning behind this wish safeguarding. Having had the chance to see the film beforehand, here's what I thought about it-

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Losing Purpose & Intention While Being Predictable

As beautifully innovative and optimistic as the premise sounds, the execution of Wish ends up being formulaic and dull. After you know what and how Magnifico is up to (which is predictable, too), the developments keep getting consistently foreseeable. It doesn't help that the idea of making it an occasional musical almost works against it. Don't get me wrong. Ariana DeBose's voice is mesmerising as Asha, but the situations where it should feel organic but keeps feeling forced. The only solace amid the drab treatment is what Disney is known for - animation and innocence. With impeccable animation and the innocence attached to concepts and characters, it never forgets who it is mainly catering to - the infant minds. 

But that is the interesting thing here. More often than not, the reason for Disney films being as fantastic as they are - is that they have been known to strike the rare balance of not only catering to infant minds but also teasing and satisfying adult minds who still have that corner of innocence left in their own selves. That is a totally lost concept here, as the fairytale never quite connects in spite of repeated attempts. There always seems to be a lack of clarity on where exactly Wish is willing to go to - staying true to its story or being self-aware. The nuggets of self-aware humor make you chuckle but are so few and far-fetched that they never quite make an impact enough.

Who Are They Even Catering To?

There's just so many questions that remain unanswered. What exactly had Disney greenlighted this project? What is the actual purpose of this saga? There is only a certain degree of love, innocence and great animation that can salvage a project. You need innovation, conviction, heart and just an amazing sense of understanding with your target audience. Because, as one studio, who would ideally want it for the kids to flock to the theatres for this one, it just doesn't connect enough. And ultimately talking about the music as well - the songs are some of the most underwhelming numbers you will see. A musical needs to be so on-point with its music and lyrics - duh! But apart from a couple of melodies, Wish doesn't have much to remember. Even the big moment in the climax looks out of place, and more so, the rousing score doesn't help its case even more.

The Verdict

Wish is another classic case of 'what-it-could-have-been' Disney's commemoration of a century providing breathtaking animated projects needed an exponentially better film to mark its legacy. You understand why this was done, but how and what was done - remains a mystery and an undercooked attempt.

Rating - **1/2 (2.5/5)

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