An enchanting town where everyone is happy, ruled by a handsome king and his lovely queen. A cute animal sidekick. Songs you hum to yourself as you leave the theatre. Those were the trademarks of Walt Disney Pictures animated features since long before I was a child. It’s been a long time since I felt those feelings but, thanks to “Wish,” all is right with the animated world again.
“Wish” tells the story of Asha (Oscar winner DeBose) and her family who, along with other families, live in the kingdom of Rosas, which is ruled by King Magnifico (a really nasty Chris Pine) and his Queen, Amaya (Angelique Cabral). The price to live in this beautiful kingdom? You must make a wish and give it to the king, who will hold onto it until the time he sees fit to grant it. As Asha’s grandfather approaches his 100th birthday, Asha is confident that his wish will finally be granted. But first, she has a job interview to attend.
From the opening credits to, well, the closing credits, “Wish” is a reminder of how Walt Disney used to create his animated films. The animation style is almost a throwback to earlier classics as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Sleeping Beauty.” The vocal talent is top notch and the songs memorable.
DeBose, who won an Oscar for playing Maria in the remake of “West Side Story,” gives Asha not only a voice but a brain. She is strong willed and family oriented, something that doesn’t sit well with the king who, voice by Pine, can either be syrupy smooth or brutally mean. I knew Pine could sing (he was in Into the Woods”), but here he gets the opportunity to really belt. Both are joined by other familiar voices, including Tudyk, Victor Garber and Evan Peters.
The animation is beautifully done and the accompanying musical score, composed by “Frozen”s Dave Metzger propels the story along between songs.
After a series of misfires that seriously threatened the House of Mouse, I am proud to report that, with “Wish,” Disney is back!