Star Rating:


Directors: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn

Actors: Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Ariana DeBose

Release Date: Friday 24th November 2023

Genre(s): Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Running time: 92 minutes

Asha (voice of Ariana DeBose) lives on the Mediterranean island of Rosas with her mother (voice of Natasha Rothwell) and her 100-year-old grandfather (voice of Victor Garber). The people of Rosas lived under the protection of the sorcerer king Magnifico (voice of Chris Pine), who has made a deal with them all - at the age of 18, they gave up their wish in exchange for his protection and one day, he may be able to grant it to them. However, when Asha discovers that Magnifico ultimately decides whose wish it is to grant and often neglects countless others, she finds herself on a daring adventure to free the wishes of Rosas, with the help of a talking goat (voice of Alan Tudyk), her friends (voices of Ramy Yousseff, Harvey Gullien, Evan Peters, Jennifer Kumiyama), and a wishing star come to life...

Given how 'Frozen' and its sequel have been firmly ensconced in children and their parents' mind and memory for the past few years, something like 'Wish' feels inevitable. After all, it's made by the same directors, has a similar medieval fantasy vibe to it, the songs are catchy and memorable, and there's a commendable message underneath it all. Throughout the runtime of 'Wish', you're never far from a song or a fun and cheeky moment, and the whole thing hangs together with the kind of well-tuned machinery you'd expect from an animation powerhouse now in its centenary year.

The voice cast of 'Wish' are capable singers and the songs have an old-school inflection, harking back to Disney classics like 'The Lion King' and more recent successes like 'Frozen'. Of course, it should come as no surprise given that Disney's secret weapon, Dave Metzger, is behind the music here alongside singer-songwriter Julia Michaels. Ariana DeBose's singing voice carries through all of it with ease, and when Chris Pine steps up for his big numbers, he's able to carry the whole thing off like it's a Broadway musical put to animation - exactly the kind of thing that Disney has done so well with over the years.

For all the fumbles with Marvel, the misguided live-action remakes of their back catalogue, the fact that they keep trying to make 'Haunted Mansion' a thing, one thing that Disney knows how to do well time and time again is create an animated musical, populate it with rich and distinctive characters, and have the whole thing tied up in a neat bow. That's 'Wish' in a nutshell. An agreeably familiar, reliably fun animated musical that does nothing particularly new or exciting, but it's next to impossible to critique it too harshly . You can watch it along with your kids, appreciating the distinctive design choices and the watercolour backgrounds, maybe clock a reference or two to Disney's deep bench of cameo characters, and basically pass the time without feeling like it's been a waste. Kids will love the songs, parents will love 95 minutes of peace and distraction.