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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Wish (PG) - 95 minutes

Make a wish and have it instantly satisfied.

 

If only it were that easy.

 

Well, it is not quite that straight forward in the Disney animated feature Wish.

 

What happens is that a man who studies the magic of the world – Magnifico (the voice of Chris Pine) – becomes a mighty sorcerer and king.

He builds a great castle on an island to where anyone can come and feel safe in return for the king holding on to their wishes for safe keeping.

 

From time to time, the king then holds wishing ceremonies and grants a small number of those wishes.

 

Mind you, in some cases, including Simon’s (Evan Peters), the real essence of who a person is dissipates when they hand over their wish.

 

Further, all memory of every wish vanishes the moment it is gifted to the king.

 

A bright and bubbly 17-year-old, Asha (Ariana DeBose), is about to be interviewed by Magnifico to become his apprentice.

Her father – a philosopher – passed when she was 12, but told her everyone is connected to the stars.

 

She would like nothing more than to see her grandfather Sabino’s (Victor Garber) wish granted on his 100thbirthday.

 

But when she puts that to Magnifico, his mood changes and he says it is far too dangerous to enact because of the potential consequences.

 

The same goes for most of the other wishes he is holding.

 

Asha quickly comes to realise that Magnifico has, in fact, stolen people’s dreams to maintain power and control.

 

It is only when Asha wishes upon a star that a light is shone on her and the rest of the kingdom and a world of possibilities opens up.

 

That includes hearing all the animals of the kingdom of Rosas, including Asha’s pet goat Valentino (Alan Tudyk), speak English for the first time.

Magnifico is enraged and plots to control the morsel of glowing light that is known as Star.

 

It is left to Asha to continue to stand up for what is right.

 

With some cute characters and bright animation, Wish is eminently watchable, but not as engaging or endearing as the best of Disney.

 

I can only put that down to the plotting that didn’t resonate as much for me as it could have.

 

Asha’s inherent goodness and her willingness to fight for what is fair makes her aspirational and a role model for the little ‘uns. She dares to dream big picture.

 

As with many of Disney’s sidekicks, Valentino is given some cute lines, although – overall – I would have liked more laughs.

 

Magnifico takes his place alongside other studios villains when he embraces forbidden magic and his eyes turn green.

Star makes her mark in a communicative, but nonspeaking role, being a beacon of hope.

 

In that regard, she harks back to the nostalgia upon which Disney was built.

 

While Wish is no Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Lion King, Aladdin or Frozen, it still has some moments to savour.

 

Rated PG, it scores a 6 out of 10.

 

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