Critics Are Saying There's 1 Thing Missing From Disney's New Film Wish

Disney's latest film – starring Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine – leans heavily into nostalgia.
Disney's Wish is about to hit UK cinemas
Disney's Wish is about to hit UK cinemas

The Walt Disney Company’s year-long celebration in honour of its centenary reaches its peak this month, with the release of the studio’s 62nd animated film, Wish.

Initially billed as an origin story for the “wishing star” featured in so many Disney classics, the film introduces us to a brand new princess, Asha (voiced by Oscar winner Ariana DeBose).

Meanwhile, Chris Pine voices the latest addition to the Disney villain cannon with his performance as King Magnifico.

With the film now just days away from hitting UK cinemas, critics have been having their say about Wish – and it seems there’s one thing many feel is lacking.

Although some aspects of Wish have been singled out for praise – including its unique visual style and Ariana’s voice performance – many have said the new family movie is distinctly lacking some of the Disney magic that has helped make hits of Frozen, Moana and Encanto in the last decade.

Chris Pine voices King Magnifico in Wish
Chris Pine voices King Magnifico in Wish

Meanwhile, others have suggested the film leans so much into Disney nostalgia that it’s rather lacking in an identity of its own.

Read a selection of what critics have had to say about Wish below, before making your own mind up when it’s released on Friday 24 November…

“Wish is a bullishly positioned successor, another self-aware, formula-tweaking Disney Princess narrative with as many radio-friendly power ballads as there are Christmas-timed merchandising opportunities.

“But Wish feels less like Disney’s new Frozen and more like an off-brand rip-off, aesthetically inferior, hampered by a mostly uninspired and underpowered plot and, most deadeningly, lacking in magic.”

“Wish contains all the ingredients for one of the studio’s signature princess musicals, from hummable songs to a cute animal sidekick, to a lush backdrop of storybook forests and spires.

“But its back-to-basics approach feels oddly content to stop at the basics – there’s no spark to turn it from a blueprint for a good time into the actual good time you keep hoping is just about to start.”

Asha meets Star in Disney's latest movie Wish
Asha meets Star in Disney's latest movie Wish

“Disney used to make this kind of film all the time, but now the studio seems a bit bamboozled as to how to do it in the modern age, which might explain why it lifts quite a lot from DreamWorks’ Shrek [...] and takes its musical direction from The Greatest Showman.”

Express (3/5)

[The film’s] storyline and its characters are pretty thin, lacking in inspiration and struggled to keep our attention or interest throughout. It feels like Disney were so focused on a paint-by-numbers tribute to their fantasy musical movies that they forgot to sprinkle on the magic.

“Despite this, there are aspects of Wish to be praised and enjoyed, the fruit of clearly a lot of hard work by the CG animators and music team.”

“The new animated film is a self-referential fairy tale, packed with winking nods and callbacks to past Disney films. It’s all very charming, and all those Easter eggs are sure to satisfy the hordes of obsessive Disney nerds. But the problem with constantly referencing other animated classics is that you inevitably invite comparison — and there, Wish comes up short.

“The result is a serviceable fairy tale that feels more like a lengthy advertisement, lacking that original Disney magic.”

Empire (3/5)

“It is primarily its own thing, even if that thing is standing heavily on the shoulders of what came before.

Wish is almost defiantly formulaic, a sweetly told fairy tale about a young girl who defies evil and finds the good within us all. In this film, perhaps more than any, the formula is the point: it is a tribute to that formula. By definition, then, it feels generic, with a script that doesn’t always live up to the standards of Disney’s best.”

Wish does feature a very cute goat and no one can take that away from it
Wish does feature a very cute goat and no one can take that away from it

“Wish is harmless holiday programming for the family, but it’s strange to watch a movie about celebrating the individual ‘star’ in everyone that feels like it was made by mandate, not a dream.

“And I would bet that every person who worked on this film probably grew up loving Disney and that each has dozens of ideas more inspired than this to commemorate 100 years and take this company into the future. Maybe next time.”

“Disney’s nine-minute short film Once Upon a Studio, where its iconic characters interact with each other to take a group photo, probably does a better job at pulling on the heartstrings and capturing the company’s last 100 years than Wish does.

“Wish is like Disney patting itself on the back (make sure you watch the credits and post-credits scene), but then, why shouldn’t it? We could all do with a little hope.”

“All in all, it’s unlikely Wish will stick with audiences as deeply as other recent triumphs like Encanto, but it’s an enjoyable, short-and-sweet watch that makes a decent addition to Disney’s catalogue.”

“Wish self-consciously packs 85 years of animated magic into a portable Disney fable. Does that make it a summation or a pastiche? A movie marbled with pop history or overstuffed with Easter eggs? One that launches the next Disney century or is stuck in the last one? Maybe all of the above.”

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