Disney’s Wish is the long-running animation studio’s latest feature — and the movie it is releasing right as the company commemorates its 100th anniversary. As such it comes with a certain amount of weight, as it’s being called upon to be the movie to sum up what the past 100 years of films has been about, and what the company stands for moving into the future. The film tells a very Disney-esque tale of a young woman (Ariana DeBose) who wishes on a star — and then the star visits her, and helps her fight for the future of her homeland against an evil king (Chris Pine).
Despite the strong cast and an enticing premise, the early reviews for Wish from critics are mixed at best. A few of the articles praise the impressive visuals (a Disney hallmark for 100 years now) and for some very catchy tunes. Many others found the film far too self-referential and meta in its allusions to other fairy tales and the history of Disney. One even compared it to what would happen if you asked ChatGPT to make a Disney movie for everyone.
As of this writing, the movie is listed as Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes — barely, at 63 percent. Over on Metacritic, its current score is 53, which indicates a mixed response.
Here’s a selection of the Wish reviews so far…
Sabina Graves, Gizmodo:
An animation triumph with visuals that bring back the fairytale look we’ve missed since The Princess and the Frog while embracing the modern Disney era’s use of CG.
Kristen Lopez, TheWrap:
For a company that’s come so far, it’s frustrating that the story within “Wish” feels so thin. That being said, go and soak it in. The songs and character will stick with you far longer.
Brian Truitt, USA Today:
If you hate all things Disney or are a big ol’ cynic, you’re not going to like the new animated musical “Wish.”
Clarisse Loughrey, The Independent:
A sweet, minor animated musical.
Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter:
At the heart of Wish is a topical and winning formula, so it’s a shame that it’s squandered for the sake of a lukewarm, ultimately safe conclusion.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety:
Disney, in the midst of commemorating its 100th anniversary, has become a company so focused on itself that it has now produced a kind of fairy-tale signifier of its own brand.
Petrana Radulovic, Polygon:
Wish feels like what you’d get if you asked a group of C-suite executives armed with ChatGPT to come up with a Disney movie that would please everyone.
Kate Erbland, Indiewire:
“Wish” serves as a throwback to the past, a celebration of the present, and a gentle push into the future.
Tim Grierson, Screen:
A strained animated musical which overtly references the company’s most beloved films, a strategy that mostly exposes how singular the studio’s productions used to be.
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:
Not so much a Disney fairy-tale as a corporate identity crisis.
Belen Edwards, Mashable:
A frustrating, self-referential IP grab.
Jordan Hoffman, The Messenger:
Not only is the story flat, the animation isn’t even that great.
Wish opens in theaters everywhere on Wednesday, November 22.
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