‘Wish’ movie review: A sweet yet shallow ride to nostalgia

A movie about wishes coming true and a wizard with the power to grant or withhold them might be unintentionally cutting too close to the bone

November 25, 2023 01:20 pm | Updated 01:20 pm IST

Asha, voiced by Ariana DeBose, left, and Valentino, voiced by Alan Tudyk, in a scene from the animated film ‘Wish’

Asha, voiced by Ariana DeBose, left, and Valentino, voiced by Alan Tudyk, in a scene from the animated film ‘Wish’

Wishes coming true is a seductive idea and the basis of many a cautionary tale. Wish, a nostalgic tribute to old-school Walt Disney animation films, reveals the easy pleasures of memories as well as the bitter pangs at the emptiness of having nothing to look forward to.

There are the talking animals, the bombastic song and dance, the brave, sparky girl, the funny, clever gang of friends, the over-the-top villain in shades of green with matching shadows and the bright pops of colour, which hark back to Disney’s old school animation as well as the shiny and new computer animation. And they all work, dragging you along, with their frenetic, frantic energy but leave you rather tired and sick at the end of the mercifully short 95-minute runtime.

Asha (Ariana DeBose) is 17 and living with her mum Sakina (Natasha Rothwell), grandfather Sabino (Victor Garber) and their goat Valentino (Alan Tudyk) in Rosas, a beautiful island country ruled by a powerful magician, Magnifico (Chris Pine).

Wish (English)
Directors: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn
Voice cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber
Storyline: A teenager lets loose a power in a seemingly perfect world that causes all sorts of trouble
Runtime: 95 minutes

People come from all over the world to Rosas to give their wishes to Magnifico, who has promised to keep them safe and grant them during a monthly ceremony. It is a big day for Asha as it is Sabino’s 100th birthday and Asha hopes his wish will be granted as the wish-granting ceremony is on that day.

Asha, voiced by Ariana DeBose, left, and King Magnifico, voiced by Chris Pine, in a scene from the animated film ‘Wish’

Asha, voiced by Ariana DeBose, left, and King Magnifico, voiced by Chris Pine, in a scene from the animated film ‘Wish’

Asha meets her Snow-White-inspired friends including royal baker Dahlia/Doc (Jennifer Kumiyama), sarcastic Gabo/Grumpy (Harvey Guillén), Hal/Happy (Niko Vargas), Simon/Sleepy (Evan Peters), Safi/Sneezy (Ramy Youssef), Dario/Dopey (Jon Rudnitsky) and Bazeema/Bashful (Della Saba) before her interview with Magnifico to be his assistant.

It goes well with Magnifico’s queen, Amaya (Angelique Cabral) rooting for Asha, till Asha questions Magnifico’s policy of not granting wishes he deems unsafe for Rosas. Her questions lead Asha to unknowingly take a drastic step which has a cascading effect on Rosas and its citizens.

All naturally comes right in the end with much glitter and giggling, magic and marvels, dancing hens and a twee star named Star. Wishing hard enough for something cannot make it come true and there is an underlying cynicism to the cloyingly sweet moralising. Chris Pine, however, has the most marvellous singing voice. Go, Captain Kirk!  

Wish is currently running in theatres

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