Well Disney’s latest movie, Wish, has been released and I have thoughts. Now if you’ve read any of my other Disney related content then you already know that I judge the quality of a Disney movie almost entirely based on the music. We will get to that. Overall I think Disney had the perfect story, cast and emotion to celebrate 100 years of hope, dreams and magic. I think they took that perfection and drowned it in a sea of AI generated music.
Let’s start with the good because quite frankly there is a lot of it. The villain, voiced by Chris Pine, is very villiany. The story gets nice and dark and his motivation and need for more power is very clear. Asha and her family are adorable, her group of friends all have clear and distinct personalities. Alan Tudyk, of course, does an amazing job as the animal sidekick. There was nothing wrong with the story or how it progressed.
The first problem was the actual staging. Besides the music it was all drawn and staged like a Broadway show. Now clearly that is something that they are hoping for but I promise you even Disney doesn’t have enough money for that musical monstrosity to take up a Broadway stage. So their efforts in getting the audience to see it as a stage show will be in vain. Not to mention the fact that this isn’t a stage show…it's a movie, an animated one and the staging didn’t reflect that. You are working with arguably the only medium with no limits at all and you didn’t take advantage of that at all.
Okay let's get to the music. The opening song wasn’t bad, the problem is that it simply rehashed what was just narrated. Therefore it did nothing to move the plot along or actually introduce anything. Think about Encanto and its opening song, or Frozen, or Beauty and the Beast. All of these opening songs serve the narrative purpose of introducing the audience to this world. It's told to us through song, not dialogue. Wish decided to do it through both and it was a very wrong decision. Then we have the song sung between Magnifico and Asha. Now this is one of the most infuriating moments for me because Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine both have fantastic voices that were wasted on a misplaced and forgettable song. This song repeated itself far too much and again, served no narrative purpose. Musical songs for the most part do not have what one would consider a chorus. Because they are meant to move the plot along very few lines are repeated. Every song in this damn movie had a chorus. Then we have the title song. Now Disney songs have a great reputation for their “I want” songs. They fill me with so much joy and drive and love and this one was just so underwhelming. The hook they chose was beautiful and unfortunately it got lost in bad lyrics with weird phrasing. And that could be said for the whole soundtrack really. There were good parts of every song but they all sounded like they were generated by an AI that understands basic song structure but nothing else. Most of the songs were also misplaced. The villain song should have happened in his dungeon and not just randomly in the castle. The song between Asha and Magnifico should have happened about 3 minutes later. It genuinely felt like they finished the movie and then remembered that it was supposed to have music and shoved it in as an afterthought.
I was really disappointed because the story was so good and well executed. If they simply had better songwriters or simply omitted the music entirely, it would have been a perfect Disney movie. And I think what was most disappointing is that the entire cast was incredible. They assembled some of the best voices they possibly could have and just wasted them on bad music. 3/10.