Wish

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY:

Street Date 3/12/24;
Disney;
Animated;
Box Office $63.92 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray; $34.96 Walmart-Exclusive 4K Steelbook;
Rated ‘PG’ for thematic elements and mild action.
Voices of Ariana DeBose, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk, Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, Jennifer Kumiyama, Harvey Guillén, Niko Vargas, Evan Peters, Ramy Youssef, Jon Rudnitsky, Della Saba.

Crafted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s animation studio, Wish pays homage to dozens of the company’s films that preceded it.

It also marks the studio’s first original fairy tale, though the premise is a bit clunky and the story plays like an amalgam of Disney’s previous adaptations.

In the medieval kingdom of Rosas, a spirited 17-year-old girl named Asha (Ariana DeBose) hopes to become apprentice to the island’s ruler, the sorcerer Magnifico (Chris Pine). The king extracts the deepest wish from the city-state’s residents when they turn 18, but only grants a few of them. The rest he keeps protected in floating orbs in his castle while those who made the wish forget what it was unless he someday grants it, under the assumption that their lives are too hard to pursue their ambitions on their own. When Asha upsets the king by suggesting he return the wishes he doesn’t grant, he rejects her as a potential candidate, leading her to wish upon a star for her family’s dreams to be realized.

The power of her wish has such a profound impact on the cosmos that an actual star descends to become her sidekick to help her achieve her goals. However, his arrival casts such a heavenly light upon Rosas that Magnifico panics upon the thought of his subjects realizes he doesn’t control all sources of magic. Turning to dark energies in his quest to find the star, he reveals himself as the true evil threat to the people of Rosas.

Wish should prove to be an adequate piece of entertainment for younger viewers, while longtime Disney fans should have fun analyzing the film for all its hidden references to the earlier works. The film is after all something of an origin story for the very concept of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which just happens to be the Disney theme song. Even the animation style reflects the goal of honoring the past, using CG animation to emulate the hand-painted look of Disney’s most-classic films.

Many of these Easter Eggs are pointed out in the six-and-a-half-minute “Wish D-Classified” featurette on the Blu-ray.

However, what makes the Wish Blu-ray interesting is that the disc as a whole might be more compelling as an artifact of the Disney legacy than it is for the film itself, which will more likely than not to go down as one of the least memorable in the Disney canon.

The true gem of the Blu-ray is the nine-minute short film Once Upon a Studio, which like the film pays tribute to the company’s 100th anniversary by revisiting the past. Taking a bit of a nod from Night at the Museum, the short finds nearly all of Disney’s animated characters coming to life to take a group photo after all the animators go home for the night. The nostalgia hits so rapidly and crosses so many generations that even the most casual Disney fan will be hard-pressed to sit through a viewing completely dry-eyed.

Among the other extras, the most prominent is “100 Years in the Making,” a nine-part documentary about the making of Wish that runs a bit more than an hour and consists mostly of the filmmakers in group conversations talking about how motivated they were to make the film feel like the culmination of 100 years of Disney animation.

Also included are nearly three minutes of voiceover outtakes, and a number of deleted sequences. One is the deleted song “A Wish Worth Making” with some rough animation in a three-minute sequence. Then there are five deleted scenes in storyboard form from earlier iterations of the film that run about 22 minutes in total.

The Blu-ray also offers a sing-along mode for viewing the movie with on-screen lyrics during the musical sequences; there’s a song selection option for those who just want to skip to the sing-along parts.

The Walmart-exclusive Steelbook edition includes the film on both 4K and regular Blu-ray Discs. All of the extras are included on the Blu-ray, while the 4K presentation is just the movie.