Wish for Better

Ever been to Wal-Mart? In their kid’s DVD section (assuming your local Wal-Mart still has one, that is), you’ll find a lot of weird knock-off movies. For every Cars, there’s a foreign-produced gunk titled something like Four Wheel Vehicles. That’s the category Wish falls into.

This movie looks awful. That it’s made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the most beloved animation studio is outright insulting. To truly celebrate Walt’s vision, Wish would at least feature hand drawn characters – pencils and inks. Walt himself never cared much about the finances (those tasks were taken over by his brother, leading to various conflicts); he cared about the artistry his teams could create first.

Wish abandons everything that makes Disney’s style distinctive

Wish cares entirely about the finances, and how to best to monetize a catalog of references, because that’s what anniversaries are reduced to now. Wish bombed as a result. It’s doubtful those in charge will ever understand why. The lifeless characters, the pedestrian story, the copycat designs (the pudgy, floating Star is dangerously close to one seen in Nintendo’s Mario Galaxy videogame), and baked-in callbacks never let Wish exist in its own world.

The animation style mirrors not the great artists of the day, but something from a fan on YouTube – a good one of those, admittedly. It’s so desperate to appeal to a generation who grew up watching say, Rooster Teeth, Wish abandons everything that makes Disney’s style distinctive, theatrical, and immense.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with CG animation. Pixar and others created majestic imagery through the medium. Wish’s issue lies in how intensely it intends to copy a classical style but without any physical rendering; Wish looks on autopilot, as bland, soulless, and risk-averse as a high-dollar executive would want in attempt to see numbers on a spreadsheet trend upward.

This doesn’t fall on the cast, even if certain side characters present dismal performances on-par with a weekly TV show. Star Ariana DeBose does what she can with a potent singing voice, but the songs lack conviction and their choreographed routines fail to entertain (an exception for a chicken-based number aside). The core story about wishes being stolen by a king is impossibly dystopian, and when the credits roll showing off Disney’s iconic characters, it’s just a reminder of how far this studios fallen to make Wish. The few gems in Disney’s recent catalog (Turning Red, Zootopia) barely offset this mess.

Video

Gripes about the animation style aside, there’s no doubt it’s notable for its texture. Everything has a canvas/paper aesthetic the Blu-ray captures perfectly. With no 4K release, the sharpness hits a notable HD peak, defining the thin lines around the characters. There’s no visible aliasing, even at distance. Watercolor-like backdrops look superlative.

Utilizing pastel-like hues, color doesn’t strike boldly, but it does have zest and life. The environments and character costumes produce enough pop to make Wish worthwhile home theater viewing.

It’s bright, giving the kingdom a glow. Sunlight fills numerous scenes, and it’s a shame this didn’t get an HDR-imbued disc. Black levels deepen enough to establish dimension.

Audio

DTS-HD 7.1 is the chosen codec. Although not Atmos, the surrounds engage well, tracking magical spells as they shimmer through the sky. Left, right, rears center – they all engage. Sound tracks flawlessly between channels. Music swells to catch each speaker, creating a convincing wall of audio.

Bass helps lift the songs, giving them weight and bounce. It’s not particularly special or notable, but a mild accentuation.

Extras

A brief, schmaltzy fetaurette on Disney’s legacy begins things (with cameos galore). A nine-part making-of runs just over an hour, but it’s artificially toned toward Disney’s legacy/importance. A peak at various easter eggs follows, with outtakes and a deleted song next. Deleted scenes close this disc out.

Wish
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Utterly soulless, Wish is less a tribute to Disney’s founder than an executive exercise in self-congratulation.

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User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 34 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:


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