Disney Animation Kept Its Promise, Fans Are Just Insatiable

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Asha from Disney's 'Wish' standing in front of a door

Credit: Disney

For something marketed as a Disney movie 100 years in the making, Wish (2023) hasn’t exactly been wowing the critics. Although Walt Disney Animation and the Walt Disney Company clearly put forth a magical effort, it hasn’t been measuring up to what some were hoping for.

Asha (Ariana DeBose) holding a wishing star in Disney's 'Wish' (2023)
Credit: Disney

Wish promised to be a return to the traditional Disney formula with all the bells and whistles that come with it. To a certain point, it was absolutely everything the studio promised, but fans still weren’t satisfied with Disney’s latest fairytale. But what exactly has them all bent out of shape?

Related: Immersive Disney Animation is Nightmare Fuel

The film’s intention wasn’t just to return to Disney’s traditional means and methods of storytelling with all the bells, whistles and hidden Mickey Mouse heads that come with it, but to pay tribute to a century’s worth of classic characters, stories, and cinematic moments that brought magic to generations of fans for the past 100 years. Yet the critics seem to have completely missed the point.

Wish was NOT a Disaster by Disney Animation

Asha (Ariana Debose) with her friends in shock.
Credit: Disney

WARNING! Mild spoilers for Wish beyond this point.

There’s no denying that Disney’s latest animated venture is not the success most were probably hoping for. However, that doesn’t mean it was a failure or a bad movie. In fact, Wish delivered nearly everything Disney promised during the entire build-up to its release date.

Related: Disney’s Latest Animated Feature Lands Chris Pine

A recent report from Forbes had this to say about what they call a “disastrous” attempt at an animated universe.

“What’s wrong with Wish? Many, many things, including a viral clip that portrayed the central hero as kind of dumb and its villain as kind of right. But the most egregious thing may be how the film ends, probably one of the worst endings to any “classic” Disney animated movie…ever?”

Like so many critiques, the writer isn’t giving the whole picture (likely to avoid more spoilers) and completely misses the point of what the film set out to do. While director Chris Buck and other filmmakers confirmed that the project was a send-up to classic Disney movies, it also functions the way traditional Disney films did in years past.

Asha and her friends mirror the seven dwarves in Wish
Credit: Disney

In short, Asha (voiced by Ariana DeBose) and her quest to overthrow the magical and malevolent King Magnifico (voiced by Chris Pine) thrives more on emotion rather than logic. Similar to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), the movie is designed to be a feel-good fantasy rather than some epic, universe-connecting cinematic icon. The film succeeds by design, but only with the audience it was intended for.

Related: After 18 Years, ‘Wish’ Becomes Walt Disney Animation’s First “Rotten” Movie

Regarding the idea of a Disney Cinematic Universe, Disney Animation CCO Jennifer Lee all but confirmed its present existence with the following.

“I think the concept of a Disney Multiverse has come up so many times from people, just all the little hints, [like] Rapunzel in Frozen and things like that.”

To which Forbes’ writer replied,

“We have indeed seen subtle threads of connected films before, but the point is that Wish is not subtle at all, and few critics who saw the film were not wild about that concept. While this may not be building to some sort of “Disney Avengers versus Disney Villains” concept in the future, at least certainly not after Wish’s disastrous box office performance, it’s one of the many things that seem to have gone wrong with the film to create this situation.”

The Disney Multiverse is nothing new; longtime fans have known about it for years. Wish is simply the magical thread that ties everything together in a neat little bow. But if the movie is doing everything right according to Disney standards like fans have demanded, why is the studio still suffering?

Photo from Disney's 'Wish'.
Credit: Disney

In short, Disney’s recent pandering to modern audiences seen in films like Strange World (2022) have essentially made it socially expected to hate the house of mouse. Wish is a good movie, even a great movie, but it’s simply cooler to hate a modern Disney film than to accept it for what it really is.

Related: Disney+ Drops Walt Disney’s Christmas Message

Is Wish a perfect movie? Absolutely not, and its flaws are just as present as the laundry list of easter eggs that flood the film. However, it’s a safe bet that most of the critics calling the Walt Disney Animation Studio out for not going all the way with what they promised aren’t seeing it through the right set of eyes.

Did you like Disney’s Wish? Tell Inside the Magic what you thought in the comments below!



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