Disney is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and anticipation is especially high for Wish, its animated November offering. Many of the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ best features have come around Thanksgiving in years past, including Frozen, Coco, Wreck-It Ralph and Encanto. Wish features Asha (Ariana DeBose) as its heroine, who rebels against King Magnifico (Chris Pine) when she discovers the injustice of the king keeping — and only sparingly granting — his subjects’ deepest wishes. Critics have seen the upcoming Disney movie, so let’s see what they think.
First reactions to Wish were mostly positive, with several critics seemingly agreeing that this is the perfect film to celebrate Disney’s centenarian milestone. Our own Sarah El-Mahmoud agrees with that assessment in CinemaBlend’s review of Wish, as she notes how the movie honors the studio’s classic films with watercolor-like settings, talking animals, catchy tunes and a strong heroine. She rates it 4 stars out of 5, writing:
Kate Stables of GamesRadar rates Wish 3 out of 5 stars, saying the studio succeeds in making a cute and earnest fairy tale, but due to the emphasis on homage, the end result lacks heart. Stables continues:
Brian Truitt of USA TODAY acknowledges that critics looking for fault in the movie will find it, with Wish beating the Disney drum a little hard. However, Ariana DeBose is the film’s saving grace as Asha, with her plucky verve and powerhouse vocals. Truitt gives the movie 3 out of 4 stars, saying:
Kate Erbland of IndieWire agrees that if viewers keep their focus on Asha, Star and Magnifico (as Chris Pine is clearly enjoying his delicious villain role), there’s definitely a lot to like as the House of Mouse throws back to its past while hinting at what the future holds. The critic grades the movie a B+ and says:
For some, though, the movie just doesn’t work. Petrana Radulovic of Polygon describes what sounds like an “if you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone” scenario. Every detail, the critic writes, is a deliberate reminder of another movie that came before it — usually something better and more unique. Radulovic continues:
The critics seem split over how well Disney was able to balance its goal of honoring the past while portraying its vision of the future or even telling a good story in the present. It does sound, though, like there are enough crowd-pleasing elements here, especially for a younger audience who may not be as concerned about the things that irked the critics.
If Wish sounds like something you’d like to check out, you can do so soon! The movie is set to hit theaters on Wednesday, November 22, and be sure to check out our 2023 movie release calendar to see what else is coming to the big screen before the end of the year.