In theaters, now is Walt Disney Animation Studios ‘s “Wish,” a film about the power and wonder of wishes, and how pure intention can be corrupted. Starring Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Angelique Cabral, Jennifer Kumiyama, and Alan Tudyk, and directed by Fawn Veerasunthorn and Chris Buck, the film is a musical that celebrates family and friendships as the truest kind of magic.
The film opens with an illustrated, manuscript style history of the kingdom of Rosa, when a young boy’s wish goes ungranted, and he suffers tremendously. After developing his own magic, he becomes Magnifico (Chris Pine) and his wife, Amaya (Angelique Cabral), found a new kingdom where people from all backgrounds of struggle can find hope, prosperity and their wishes granted. In the present, Asha (Ariana DeBose) seeks the ear of the magician king in order to request her grandfather’s wish be granted on his 100th birthday. However, Asha soon discovers that the magician King’s pure intentions have curdled and led him to hold captive his people’s most precious asset: their truest wishes.
‘Wish’ is a unique film with diverse cast, innovative animation style and non-traditional song styling. The foundation of the kingdom of Rosa is that it is a place for people of all walks of life who have been let down by their home. By nature, the kingdom is diverse, and many of the occupants are portrayed as refugees, a unique population for a Disney kingdom. The animation style of the movie is a hybrid between 3-D computer animation and, the classic watercolor background landscape style of original Disney films, such as “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Bambi.” The influence of the watercolor style can be seen in the animation of the characters where the coloring is stippled in as if with a paintbrush.
“Wish” also diverges from its predecessors by adopting a distinctly different musical style from recent Disney and Pixar films. The songs in the film, written by Julia Michaels, and Benjamin Rice, do not follow the typical expository bridge to catchy chorus structure of the Disney music that becomes ear worms. Instead, the lyrics have a more freeform non-rhyming structure that take some getting used to. I would not say the biggest draw of this movie is the music, however, it is not brought down by it.
The most delightful parts of this film are the side characters. From Asha’s goat companion, Valentino, voiced by Alan Tudyk to the lovable star, who brings magic to all people in the kingdom and Asha’s friends in the castle, the film finds laughter and heart in every interaction. This strong, supporting cast lends itself to one of the main messages of the movie: that no one person is strong or pure enough to override the will of the collective.
“Wish” is in theaters now and makes a unique and heartwarming watch for the holidays.