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‘Wish’ 4K UHD (Digital Review)

Disney

Disney has been celebrating 100 years of its particular brand of storytelling magic.

Children and adults alike have been delighted by their versions of both public-domain fairytales and original characters.

However, with a track record exceeding a century, it can be difficult to balance fresh takes with nostalgia and nods. This makes Wish a curious attempt to honor the many stories that have come before while creating something original.

While die-hard Disney fans will be satisfied, those less enamored by the Mouse and his reliance on nostalgia will be checking their watches to see how long is left in this 95 minute commercial.

The film follows Asha (Ariana DeBose), a 17-year-old girl in the magical kingdom of Rosas. They are ruled by the benevolent sorcerer King Magnifico (Chris Pine), who protects their greatest wishes after they place them with him on their 18th birthday.

But soon she finds that a wish protected is not the same as a wish fulfilled, and the power that they hold threatens to either destroy or save them all.

This film is coming from Disney veterans with screenwriter (and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Animation) Jennifer Lee and co-director Chris Buck reuniting for the first time since Frozen. This might be part of the problem, as putting two people with an astronomical hit that followed a very specific formula is not a recipe for transformation. There are so many winks and nods to the fact that Disney itself is built upon the powers of dreams and wishes that it takes away from the present, which is unfortunate. The deeper story that Asha learns about the power of holding onto your wish – that most special part of yourself – would be welcome in this time where many are too exhausted to do anything but hand over their hopes to someone else.

Wish has the most threadbare of stories to hang a lesson on but just enough bones to dress in nostalgia.

Disney has had a lackluster run up to its anniversary, with lukewarm reception to both originals and sequels. Perhaps a mandate from skittish corporate overlords to ensure that people are reminded of “the good ol’ days” took away from the original aspects of Wish.

Extras include Sing-Along, Making Of, Mutiple Featurettes, and Deleted Scenes and Songs.

Besides a loss in story, this means a wasted cast of excellent talent.

Chris Pine is wonderfully unhinged as Magnifico to the point that I’m looking at what he brings to a live-action villian role. DeBose fills Asha with energy and while the songs are forgettable, the passion she sings with is inescapable. And truly, has there ever been a voice role that Alan Tudyk hasn’t knocked out of the park?

They all do their level best to uplift a leaden script, but even shooting for the moon is landing them far below the stars.

 

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