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Review: ‘Wish’ brightens audience’s hearts

‘Wish’ is a delightful animated movie about a young woman who teams up with a magical star

A scene from 'Wish'
A scene from 'Wish' courtesy of Disney
A scene from 'Wish' courtesy of Disney

‘Wish’ is a delightful animated movie about a young woman who teams up with a magical star to save her kingdom.

Hope is an integral aspect of the human condition. Thus, as children we are taught to make wishes on stars, birthday candles, eyelashes, times, coins and any other number of trivial things. The desire coming true is usually mere coincidence, but the act of putting that dream into the world can create an aspiration to make it a reality. It’s a reminder that we each hold the potential to achieve our goals. In Wish, a young woman asks for help and her request is answered by an adorable little star that falls from the sky.

There is a kingdom protected from any harm by its king, Magnifico (Chris Pine), a sorcerer who spends his days perfecting his magic and guarding everyone’s wishes, which he takes on their 18th birthdays and sporadically grants on special occasions. He is looking for an apprentice to assist in his duties and Asha (Ariana DeBose) seems like the ideal candidate. She’s loved by everyone, gives spirited tours of the village, and adores her family and friends. However, when her interview reveals some less-than-ideal aspects of the job, she leaves the castle disheartened and looking for answers. So, she makes a wish on a star, which is surprisingly answered by a little ball of energy filled with magic and a desire to help.

This is one of the sweetest Disney pictures of recent years. Star is full of personality and compassion. It doesn’t speak, but communicates through its expressions, motions and whatever it can put together with a ball of yarn it acquired when it landed on Earth. It’s impulsive with the gifts it bestows on everyone and everything, but that simply speaks to its desire to spread joy. Its heart is what really shines though, creating an unexpectedly uplifting narrative by inspiring so many of the characters to do what’s right — including the many animals and other living things that it grants the ability to speak, which results in cuteness overload and hilarity.

Since it’s not a Disney cartoon without music, this movie uses song to both further the narrative and entertain audiences. You probably won’t find yourself immediately humming any of the tunes following the screening, but the last song is certainly inspiring as it empowers people to face the evil that has embraced their kingdom. To that end, some children may find the final confrontation frightening as the screen darkens, and the villain unleashes their dreadful power to enslave the village and defeat the opposition. But then everything becomes right with the world again, which is, of course, accompanied by fireworks.

For avid Disney fans, the credits are paired with sparkling sketches of iconic cartoon personalities from across the company’s 100 years, which can be turned into a fun game of name that character.

Directors: Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn
Starring: Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine and Alan Tudyk

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Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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