Parents' Guide to

Wish

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Celebration of Disney animation is fun—but only just fine.

Movie PG 2023 92 minutes
Wish Movie Poster: Asha, wearing a purple dress, raises her hand dramatically toward the sky, while Magnifico looms over her

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 5+

Technically Beautiful, Narratively Bankrupt. A Major Disappointment

From a pure craft standpoint, Wish is gorgeous. The animation, production design, vocal performances, editing, visual effects, et al are top notch. no complaints there (beyond the intentionally muted color palette of the early portion of the film crossing the line into even more drab than the story called for.) But from a story standpoint, the film feels like they went straight into production on the first draft of the screenplay. Which is to say that narratively the film is a complete mess that either can't seem to ever settle on what it wants to be about, or else can't figure out how to convey that story in a thematically coherent, intelligible way. As just one of many examples of this muddle, the rules of the world are bizarre, overly complex, illogical, counter intuitive in the worst way, and almost impossible to follow or make sense of. People immigrate to a kingdom so they can have their most important wishes removed from their memories at age 18 all for the infinitesimally small chance that the kingdom’s ruler will grant that wish to them at some point before they die? What? Huh? In what universe does that make narrative sense on any level? Who on earth would that “deal” appeal to? This is fantasy world building of the laziest, sloppiest, worst kind. The kind that just makes up the rules as it goes along and then keeps changing them to suit the needs of the story without any regard to logic or internal consistency. Is it possible that the writer’s strike meant the studio just plowed ahead without the necessary revisions to get the world and the story to work? Based on all of the references to classic Disney films and characters laced throughout the film and credits, the filmmakers appear to believe they have made a major meta-statement on the entire Disney catalogue and legacy. But if they have, it was lost on me. I spent the entire time trying to figure out what the darned picture was trying to be about. Most importantly of all, I was never moved emotionally. Not even a teensy tiny bit. What a waste of talent and resources. Wish is pretty, but dead on arrival.
age 10+

Feminist Disney tries to remove a despot

I personally loved the movie, but it would have been a wholly different film if the directors made the “wish granting ceremony” happen when Rosas citizens were 16 rather than 18. Main point: If you’re trying to make a dystopian movie, then stick to it! Otherwise, audience members will come away feeling confused as to whether Asha is merely brave or needlessly annoying.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14 ):
Kids say (20 ):

Wish is cute and fun to watch, especially once you realize that it's a hat tip to all of the Disney Animation movies that have come before it. But this 100th anniversary musical also feels a bit like AI's answer to the prompt: "Make a Disney Animation movie for the modern day." For Disneyphiles, it's a gift that will make their hearts soar. You're meant to notice the movie's many legacy nods, from the 2D animated storybook opening to when Asha is singing "This Wish" and her hair blows in the wind just like Pocahontas' did in "Colors of the Wind." These little nods roll in from all directions, and there's an endorphin rush from every one you catch. The songs written by Julia Michaels are on par with Disney classics (Magnifico's "This Is the Thanks I Get" is catchy fabulous, a number hilariously relatable to both parents and politicians) and are destined to fit in perfectly on a Disney greatest hits compilation.

However. Homage is one thing, and self-derivative is another. Wish is so busy winking that it waters down its own story. Instead of being the next great Disney Animation movie, it's a bop that's likely to land with a lot of buzz and then disappear. It's fine, and it serves a purpose, but Wish is robbed of the opportunity of being its own movie, and that might leave audiences dreaming about how it could have been so much more. (That said, watch through the credits to see if you can name all of the Disney Animation movies!)

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