Like many Disney films, Wish, directed by Fawn Veerasunathorn and Chris Buck is not what it appears to be on the outside.” The story is targeted at a young audience and it packs a punch with the nuanced message of the power to dismantle a corrupt system, through a teen protagonist, Asha.
The film’s potent underlying message is that dreams and wishes are more powerful than we think. It is rendered beautifully through CGI animation and watercolour effects. The use of this tool is particularly striking in the scene where Magnifico performs magic. Also, when Asha breaks into a song with the rest of the citizens.
A teenager who takes the system down
Asha, a 17-year-old teenage girl, lives in the city of Rosas, ruled by the kind sorcerer King Magnifico. According to a rule, the citizens of Rosas can share a wish with King Magnifico when they turn 18 and he will grant it when he seems fit. But the catch is one will have to forget the wish after surrendering to the king.
Asha, whose grandfather has been waiting for years for his wish to be granted, . goes for an interview with Magnifico as his apprentice and also to retrieve her grandfather’s special wish. During the conversation, she gets an inkling of the evil nature of Magnifico and decides to unmask his intentions of never returning their wishes to the people.
Following Disney tradition, Asha gets external support in the form of a wish-granting star in the story. This is to accomplish her mission of uniting the citizens of Rosas and rebelling against the king. Though she is not a Disney princess, Asha has the hallmarks of one which are a heart of gold and the courage to dare for the good of all.
Magnifico makes for a magnificent villain, but…
The sorcerer king is insecure and will do anything to hoodwink his subjects and hold on to his power. He takes people’s wishes to add them to his collection like showpieces. As someone who is not only the head of the state but also possesses magical powers, Magnifico is a strong adversary for Asha to battle against.
Star Trek actor Chris Pine, who voices Magnifico, makes you loathe him. Pine’s voice acting strikes the right balance between villainy and humour — just like he did in the 2023 film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves — making Magnifico a standout in Disney’s gallery of rogues.
The major drawback of Wish is that the character of Asha comes across as one-dimensional, with no flaws of her own to fight alongside the antagonist. This is also why, despite the promising storyline, the movie feels a bit underwhelming.
Another song-driven Disney movie
Given that it’s a Disney musical, Wish is driven by its songs just like films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Bambi (1942), Pinocchio (1940), Frozen (2013) and Moana (2016), among many others.
The song ‘Isn’t Truth Supposed to Set You Free?’ gives a peek into Asha’s thoughts, disturbed that she is by the condition of Rosas, while ‘So I Make This Wish’ brings out the collective desire of the people to remember what they once wished for and see it come true.
Magnifico, too, sings a song in the film, venting his anger after he sees his citizens rebelling against him one by one. The song ‘This Is The Thanks I Get?!’ depicts him as an egotistical and selfish king who gives a list of things he has done for his people only to be betrayed at the end.
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