Wish is an ode to 100 years of Disney magic, say directors

Musical, which stars Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine, champions original songs and brushstrokes

Wish stars Ariana DeBose as Asha and Chris Pine as King Magnifico. Photo: Disney
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Disney's new animated film Wish is an ode to the company's steller back catalogue, its directors say.

As the studio celebrates its 100th anniversary, some of its best-known creations including Snow White and Pinocchio provide inspiration for Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn.

Buck is a veteran, having previously directed the Oscar-winning Frozen as well as fan favourite Tarzan. Veerasunthorn, who is from Thailand, is a newcomer to directing, though she previously worked in the art department for films such Moana and Zootopia.

“Getting to work with Chris on Frozen was kind of mind-blowing," she tells The National. “And I love working with him. He has taught me that being a director doesn't mean that you have to hold all the answers.”

Wish tells the story of Asha who lives in the magical kingdom of Rosas, ruled by a seemingly benevolent and magic-wielding ruler named Magnifico. The film follows Asha as she discovers that Magnifico is not what he seems, as he uses his magical powers to deny the citizens of Rosas their wishes.

Timed for release as Disney celebrates its centenary, the film is a love letter to the animation studio's best work. Buck and Veerasunthorn have brought back the pen strokes and colours of films of yesteryear using computer-generated technology.

Buck adds: “It's gorgeous illustrations, but we have the CG technology today. So, we're able to move into those, those paintings, and sort of make moving illustrations."

Starring Ariana DeBose as Asha, Chris Pine as Magnifico and Alan Tudyk as Asha's pet goat Valentino, the directors also raved about their voice actors.

"Ariana brought so much of herself. She took this role with her energy and her enthusiasm," says Veerasunthorn.

Buck adds: "Chris was amazing, Chris brought in the charm, which is just natural for him, but he was able to go to the villainous route."

Wish also continues Disney’s tradition of creating original music and songs for its animated films, with the film employing Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels.

"We try to make the music integral to the story we use," Buck says. "We don't just stop and have them sing a song that has nothing to do with furthering the plot.

“It's always about furthering the plot. And I think that's why those songs engage the audience as much as they do.”

When asked about his favourite thing about the film, Buck says: "It's just it's so fun and vibrant. I think it has a great message – that we're all stars and there's a power in each one of us.

"It also just visually evokes some of the fun of all the Disney movies, and the great music of those."

And, it seems audiences agree. Having hit worldwide cinemas on Thursday in time for Thanksgiving, it its leading the US box office having taken $8.3 million in already. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it currently holds an 82 per cent audience score.

Wish is now showing in UAE cinemas

Updated: November 27, 2023, 3:05 AM