The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | Disney’s ‘Wish’ was a passable movie that had potential to be better

On Nov. 22, Disney released its newest movie, ‘Wish,’ a story with a unique premise that failed to live up to expectations.
Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY
Mar 12, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ariana Debose arrives at the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 12, 2023. Mandatory Credit: Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY

Walking into the theater to see “Wish,” I’ll admit I was excited. After watching several previews and listening to a few pre-released songs, I was curious to find out where Disney could take a story that seemed incredibly unique.

After watching the film, I can definitively say it was frustrating — not in the sense that the movie was necessarily bad, but in the sense that the characters and the storyline had the potential to be so much better.

“Wish” tells the story of a young, headstrong girl named Asha who lives in the city of Rosas, ruled by King Magnifico, a powerful sorcerer who collects people’s greatest wishes once they turn 18 years old. Once a wish is collected, it is forgotten by its original owner.

Every month, Magnifico — voiced by Chris Pine — grants one of these wishes to someone whose wish he believes will benefit the kingdom, and himself in particular.

The main conflict of the movie begins when Asha — voiced by Ariana DeBose — discovers that the King has no intention of granting a majority of the wishes and refuses to return any of them to the people they came from.

After Asha wishes on a star, as many Disney protagonists have done before her, the star comes to life. With the help of the cute, round golden star, Asha resolves to return the wishes of Rosas to their rightful owners.

The movie’s strengths lie in its compelling premise: the idea that people relinquish their wishes, in part because they are afraid to pursue them alone.

It establishes this through creative animation as well as callbacks to previous films, including the classic storybook opening and when Asha’s wishing star allows her to communicate with plants and animals.

Where this movie suffers, however, is in its lackluster execution of its premise. While I did enjoy the throwback to the times of more ruthless Disney villains with the evil nature of Magnifico, certain aspects of his character were lacking.

For instance, his backstory was hinted at a few times throughout the movie, to the point where I believed the audience would get a more in-depth explanation of why this king is the way he is and why the wishes are such a threat to him. It is refreshing that he is openly evil, but I was left with several unanswered questions about him.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed the protagonist, Asha. Her motivations and backstory were compelling, especially when she spoke about her father and his influence on her as she grew up. She seemed to possess a strong sense of compassion and showed that she truly cared about her family and those around her.

That being said, I felt like her character could be too silly at times when it didn’t make sense.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good joke, and this movie had plenty of them, but the humor reached the point where there were just too many. A few more serious moments, both with Asha herself and throughout the movie as a whole, would have heightened the tension and raised the stakes.

Asha’s friends felt forgettable, and I would have liked to further explore their characters. The song “Knowing What I Know Now,” which I’ve concluded is the best song of the movie, was a fun and intense action song sung by Asha’s friends. However, it would have been more impactful if the audience had become more acquainted with the characters.

All in all, I wish that “Wish” had been a stronger movie, because it certainly had the potential to reach for the stars.

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About the Contributor
Riley Dunn
Riley Dunn, Arts Reporter
Riley Dunn is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and Creative Writing and Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her time at the DI, Riley interned for Swimming World Magazine.