Skip to content

Review: Disney brings nostalgia with ‘Wish’

Samantha Smith reviews the new Disney animated film that, for the first time ever, places an Afro-Latina in the leading role.

(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Celebrating 100 years of magic, Disney’s latest film highlights how wishes are part of our hearts.

The Walt Disney Company has built its entertainment brand on storytelling and the magic of making dreams come true. In celebration of its 100th anniversary this year, Disney released the film “Wish” on November 22 to commemorate its rich history of animated films.

In this musical comedy, we are whisked away to the kingdom of Rosas, populated by immigrants who come to the city for a new beginning and to have their wishes come true. Every citizen of Rosas gives their wishes to King Magnifico, a sorcerer who promises to protect everyone’s wish and grants one during a monthly ceremony. 

In Rosas we meet the Afro-Hispanic protagonist Asha (Ariana DeBose), a 17-year-old idealist who loves her home and welcomes those who migrate to the city. In an interview with King Magnifico (Chris Pine) to be his apprentice, she asks him to grant her grandfather’s wish in honor of his 100th birthday. 

The king refuses to grant her grandfather’s wish because it is vague and dangerous. In disbelief, Asha asks King Magnifico to return her grandfather’s wish to him so he can make his wish come true on his own. When the king refuses to give the wish back or grant any wishes from Asha’s family, she realizes who the king truly is and wants a different life for herself and everyone in the kingdom.

Asha makes a powerful wish in the sky, bringing a new cosmic friend called Star into her life. They work together with friends to defeat King Magnifico and to release all the wishes of Rosas.

(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Throughout the film, there are nods to Disney’s animation history. Asha’s coat resembles the fairy godmother from “Cinderella” (1950). Green is used to represent dark magic, as it was in “Sleeping Beauty” (1959). The movie also combines 2D and 3D animation, blending past and present films from Disney’s legacy.

There is much to love about this movie even outside of the Disney references. “Wish” includes seven new songs penned by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy-winning producer/songwriter Benjamin Rice. The film's storytelling complements Disney’s style, which was popular during its Renaissance era. Disney fans will love “Wish” because it celebrates the brand of the company—that there is magic in making your dreams come true. 

More importantly, “Wish” reminds us not to give up or give away our own wishes. When our wish aligns with God’s plan for our lives, it is our work to make it come true. And while the world doesn’t always make it easy, we must move forward with what God has put on our hearts. 

In its nearly two-hour runtime, “Wish” reminds us that hope, faith, and community are necessary to fulfill our heart's wishes. But we also must believe in our ability to make them come true.

Samantha Smith is a copy and content writer based in Atlanta. She worked for the Archdiocese of Atlanta for nearly a decade in various roles, including as a staff writer for The Georgia Bulletin, where she won numerous Catholic Press Awards for her writing and social media campaigns. Connect with Samantha by following her Catholic blog, Spirit and Sparkle, and her Twitter/X at @BeimaxCreates.

Want to support the work of BCM? You have options.

a.) click to give (fee-free) on Zeffy

b.) click to give on Facebook