Charles Merritt enjoyed this love letter to 100 years of Disney, and believe it speaks to something that is in every child
The Film: Wish
Watch if you liked: Any Disney film ever
Running time: 95 minutes
Genre: Fantasy, Musical
Overview: When Asha realises that her family’s wishes will never be granted, she wishes upon a star to help free the wishes from the egotistical king who holds them captive.
What you liked:
What a love letter to 100 years of Disney! Filled with easter eggs and nods to the films that have gone before it, ‘Wish’ tries it’s best to capture the nostalgic feeling of watching a Disney movie as a kid. From Asha’s friends being the seven dwarves, with all their personalities, to magic mirror references, the film crammed as many references in as it could. The credits have images from all the previous Disney films too – well worth staying for those, if your little ones can manage it.
Ariana DeBose does a great job voicing Asha - her singing, as expected, is beautiful. Chris Pine is brilliant as ever, this time showing his villainous side as the evil King Magnifico. The Star is very cute and I can see bright things for the shiny little thing in terms of merchandising…
I’m going to say that I liked the songs on the most part. Having just listened to the soundtrack, there are definitely a couple that I can feel are going to grow on me. They’re not as instinctively catchy as other Disney songs but they have their own feel and I reckon ‘This Wish’ will be sung by little kids this Christmas (out of tune and without knowing all the words, of course…).
What you didn’t like:
I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the art direction of this movie. I love that they were trying to pay homage to the hand-drawn nature of the earlier Disney films but at times it felt like I was watching something on the Disney channel rather than a theatrical release.
I love sidekicks, they’re often my favourite things about Disney movies. The Genie, Timon and Pumba, Olaf, Mushu etc. But Valentino didn’t really work for me… I felt like he was trying to be funny rather than actually being funny. Which was a shame but only a small gripe in the grand scheme of things.
Thoughts for parents:
I get the sense that not everyone is on board with Disney ideology and so I shall tread carefully here… But if you can cope with magic, imagination and wonder then I think you’ll enjoy this film.
Disney is for sure a mega-corporation who thrive on squeezing every last dollar out of you, and so this may come as a surprise, but I do wonder whether this film is a metaphor for commercialism and consumerism…
King Magnifico takes people’s wishes and keeps them locked away for ‘protection’. The people of Rosa can’t remember what their wishes are and so get on with their lives but secretly hope that one day their wish will be granted, whatever that wish may be.
Asha realises that wishes are a big part of who you are. That there’s something within you that’s calling out for something better. Without them, you’re not really you.
In the film, there’s a whole song about how we are all ‘stars’ and that is what connects us. The reason we look up to the sky for answers is because we’re all stars. Obviously, in a Christian context, that’s not what we believe. But don’t we too look up to the sky for answers? Do we not look up to God for answers? And are we not connected to one another through God’s creation?
I wonder whether we have lost sight of God’s calling to our lives – our ‘wishes’ – because we’ve handed them over to consumerism? We think that products and celebrities can grant our wishes, that our callings are worth sacrificing for things we wish to possess. But what if we took a stand and noticed that we are all connected by God and that our wishes, our callings, have a greater purpose? What if we shared in our wishes to create a better world and bring the Kingdom closer to hand?
Power corrupts. We think that with power, we can make things better. But ultimately, it’s only through God’s power that anything truly good can happen.