Disney’s Wish is meant to celebrate 100 years of its rich and dreamy legacy, an ode to all things fascinating, if you may. However, for a film that is decidedly about having individual sparks, it completely fades into the background. Don’t get me wrong, I happened to go to a screening of this film with adolescent children who thoroughly enjoyed it because they were mostly engaging in dialogue with the characters out loud (and maybe from all the seat shaking, which made me realize I’m too old for these things), and there’s a bunch of cute-looking characters that any kid would gobble up. It’s hardly a secret that Wish is only meant to be a cash cow for cute merch and another quirky Disney princess (she’ll probably become one) that little kids will imitate for 5 minutes and later forget. There’s nothing inspiring or relatable here, except for Ariana DeBose, whose performance obviously hits all the right spots, along with Chris Pine, who truly is the perfect choice for a vain and narcissistic villain with no personality.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Asha is a 17-year-old girl who lives in the city of Rosas, a place where everyone is welcome and can live for free (as their king reminds us in his song), provided they hand over their greatest wish to King Magnifico for safekeeping at age 18, and then he grants them in ceremonies every week. These wishes are immediately forgotten as they’re handed over to Magnifico. Magnifico is a very handsome (that jawline though) king, a sorcerer, and the pride and joy of the city. Asha wants to be Magnifico’s apprentice; however, she won’t get to learn how to do magic because all citizens are forbidden to do magic; it’s only for the king. So, basically, she’s excited to be this stuck-up guy’s assistant and nervous enough she forgets how to speak (oh, did I say unrelatable? My bad). Asha’s clumsy self touches the wrong thing and appears completely distraught in front of this fancy king, which is, of course, completely alright because he’s so generous and can give her another chance. They bond over childhood tragedies, with the king losing his entire family to magic and Asha losing her father to sickness. And voila, Asha has tugged at his heartstrings enough to have him show her the wishes, something only a handful of people have had the chance to see (then why?). Asha is delighted to see the wishes, and at first, it seems she’s all about protecting the people’s wishes alongside the king, but suddenly, when the song’s finished, Asha becomes a selfish child who just wants her own 100-year-old grandfather’s wish to come true.
Magnifico decides to show his true colors at this moment, telling Asha that her grandfather’s wish is too dangerous. She thinks it’s only fair that the wishes go back to their owners because at least they’ll have something to strive for. Do the math, child. Of course, not everyone’s wish will be granted, but fine. Asha’s selfish desires result in Magnifico also deciding not to grant her mother’s wish. Sad and hopeless, Asha belts out another song and makes a wish upon a star. Lo and behold, a golden ball of fluff comes down to meet her (of course, Star is meant to be like a fairy godmother). This is when things go wrong, because when the King, along with the entire city, sees the bright light of the star before it appears by Asha’s side, he thinks it’s a direct threat to him. Now this narcissistic king, who is essentially a dictator and who likes to decide whose wishes he will grant, feels let down; his ego hurts, so he decides to use the book of corrupt magic to do his bidding. It is now up to Asha, her friends, and Star to save Rosas from the evil king and restore everyone’s wishes. I suppose it is important to mention at this point that Star also makes all the animals talk, including Asha’s 3-month-old goat Valentino, who becomes increasingly annoying as the film progresses, even with an adorable face.
Who Snitches On Asha?
Through the first half of Wish, Simon is a sulky young boy who feels empty on the inside since he lost his wish, something his friends attest to. When he hears that the king will grant the wish of the person who tells him who brought the magic light to the land, he goes ahead and tells him to feel whole again. This doesn’t work because the king is using his corrupt magic and just ends up making Simon his pet because his wish is to be the greatest knight King Magnifico could ever have.
Why Does Queen Amaya Choose Asha’s Side?
Well, honestly, we don’t know. But, according to that one song, Amaya admits to being blinded by love. She’s always known of her husband’s dark side, but she never left him because of their love for each other. Really, it would’ve been more interesting to see her by his side until the end as a villain too, but okay. Although Amaya is able to calm Magnifico down at first when she’s not around, he uses the dark book, this is when something switches in her, we can imagine. She gets tired of his misdeeds and chooses the people of Rosas.
How Do Asha And Her Friends Defeat Magnifico?
Asha, her seven dwarfs, sorry friends (don’t bother remembering the names; they’re not as important), and Star plan to deceive the king and release the wishes all at once so that the people of Rosas can remember them. Asha even gets a wand to do magic of her own, so Star can help the rest with the wish-granting while Asha distracts Magnifico. Everything looks perfect until it’s revealed that Simon is going after Asha and not Magnifico. Magnifico absorbs all the dreams into his staff to make himself even more powerful, adding Star to the mix too. Magnifico is a confusing villain because, at first, he has a point and his only vices are his vanity and self-absorbed behavior (honestly not that bad at this point), but one little prick from Asha and he goes into full-blown villain mode, deciding to take away all the wishes of the town, becoming the most powerful villain of them all (how he wishes). Anyway, Asha, the socially anxious girl who was once nervous to talk to the king, sings in front of the entire kingdom, inspiring them to remember that together they can defeat any evil, in this case, their wish-stealing king (I am laughing at this point).
It’s inevitable for a tyrant to be brought down by a rebellion, and the crowd, who realize their king was only controlling them in the name of keeping them safe, all join hands and sing together, bringing Star and their wishes back to the real world. Everyone gets their wishes back, and Magnifico gets trapped in a mirror (so fitting, hahaha). I suppose Magnifico becomes the evil queen’s mirror in Snow White, and that’s the end of his sorcery. Everybody realizes how important it is to hope and have their dreams come true—something that Disney provides (tries to) with all its movies. Asha is considered the town’s guardian angel, and Amaya becomes the new ruler of Rosas, even putting Magnifico’s mirror in the stinking dungeon. No redemption for this guy, as we know. There’s something lacking in both Asha and Magnifico’s motivations. This is something that really sticks out in this whole story, making it seem like nothing in the film truly makes sense. As I write this article, I have to keep reminding myself of what happened in the film because it almost feels like nothing really happened.
What Does The Post-Credit Scene Signify?
As if the entire film wasn’t enough of a reminder that Disney has turned 100, along with the many characters who make an appearance in the film (Bambi, Peter Pan, and more), the entire credit sequence is filled with starry drawings of all (most) the characters we’ve come to love thus far in the world of Disney. At the end of the credits, however, there’s a scene that has Asha’s 100-year-old grandfather play the notes of When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio. We can imagine Asha’s grandfather is an embodiment of Disney (the production house) itself. His big dream is to inspire generations to come, and that’s what Disney aspires to do too (maybe at some point).
Disney’s Wish wishes it could be something magnificent, but it does nothing for old fans. On the other hand, young kids will definitely enjoy this new-age pop music and superficial storyline before forgetting it for good. There was a lot of potential with Wish, but at the end of the day, it joins Disney’s list of not-so-great animated films of the last decade (oops).