Disney’s latest animated production from 2023, Wish, is nothing more than an unnecessarily bold reminder of the company’s 100 years’ celebration. The plot, about a teenager named Asha fighting for the sake of the wishes of every citizen in her land, is simply not developed enough or given much care. Instead, references and reminders of other Disney films and characters are shoved in throughout the entire duration of Wish, none of which succeeds in having any proper impact either. Overall, Wish might be fine for kids, but it is bound to disappoint anyone looking beyond the surface.
Plot Summary: What is Disney Film about?
In true Disney fashion, Wish begins with a narrator reading the story of a magical past from an illustrated book, and it is in this manner that the background for the film is set. A young man had once been extremely driven by the powers of a wish that humans have within themselves. The wish, or desire to do and achieve something in one’s life, which is so characteristic of any human being, is what interested this young man, and he wanted to ensure that everyone’s deepest wish would come true. In order to do this, he learned serious magic and became a sorcerer, naming himself Magnifico. With time, Magnifico was able to keep anyone’s wish or dreams safe from being destroyed by fate and fortune, and later on, the man was even able to grant the wishes of people. Together with his wife, Amaya, Magnifico left his home and sailed out in search of a perfect land, which they found somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. Turning the land into a kingdom where everyone was welcome and kept safe, the couple became the rulers of the land, which was named Rosas.
The specialty of Rosas for the citizens living in the kingdom is that once someone turns eighteen, they can hand over their deepest wish, which has a very physical existence, to King Magnifico, who keeps it safe for them. When the King deems it right, he grants the wish of a citizen, and this granting takes place only once a month, on a ceremonial occasion. On the day of such a wish-granting ceremony, the protagonist of the film, Asha, wants the wish of her grandfather, Sabino, to be fulfilled. It is Sabino’s 100th birthday, meaning that it is a joyous occasion and also that the man is running out of time, so it would be a perfect day for the old man’s wish to be fulfilled. But since Asha is still seventeen, she cannot put in her own wish with the King either, and so she plans a different technique. Asha has heard rumors that the King grants the wishes of his apprentice and also those of their family members. Desiring only to make her grandfather happy, Asha goes for an interview at the King’s court, hoping to become his next apprentice.
What does Asha realize about King Magnifico?
Until meeting with King Magnifico personally, Asha had the idea that the ruler is a kind-hearted person who helps people keep their wishes safe and also realize them in time. This is because of the appearance and image that Magnifico had maintained about himself, but it all changes when Asha finally gets to meet him. When discussing the upcoming interview with her seven friends, who are clearly inspired by the seven dwarves in Snow White, they all note how one of them, Simon, has been very quiet and almost absent from life after he had given his wish to the King. Soon, Asha is informed by Queen Amaya that the King is ready for her, and Amaya also tells the girl that she must not ask for any direct favors from the King. As the teenager reaches the palace and starts the interview, she is asked about her motivation to become the apprentice, to which she responds with all the correct answers. Amaya praises Magnifico out of a genuine belief in him and convinces the man that she would be the ideal candidate for the position.
But the situation turns sour when Asha finds her grandfather’s wish—to inspire others with his music—among the innumerable wish bubbles floating around in the King’s study. She is reminded of her deepest desire, which is to help Sabino fulfill his dream, and the girl asks Magnifico for a favor—to grant Sabino’s wish during the ceremony later that day. It is at this time that Asha finds out that their beloved King is not really who he has been claiming to be. Magnifico takes a look at Sabino’s wish and immediately decides not to grant it, for the old man inspiring other people might pose the risk of them turning rebellious against him. Furthermore, Magnifico also reveals that he has no intention of granting the wishes of most people, simply because they might become a threat to him.
When Asha asks the man to then return the wishes to the people so that they can at least try to fulfill them through their own efforts, Magnifico refuses to do so either. In the world of Wish, anyone who gives up their wish to the King to keep it safe also immediately forgets what their wish or desire in life was. This is why Simon appeared so lost and unmotivated after he had given up his wish, because a part of every human being goes away with them handing over their wish, making them lose motivation in life. But if their wishes were returned to the citizens, and if they managed to achieve them, then Magnifico’s power could be questioned and challenged, too. Therefore, the King selfishly holds on to the wishes of all the subjects, ensuring that his rule will last forever.
King Magnifico is symbolic of any ruler who started a kingdom with all the right intentions, but the hunger for power devoured them. With the passing of time, Magnifico became too obsessed with his power and fame, and this further made him fear losing all of it. The man enjoys all the pomp and glory that is shown to him during the wish-granting ceremonies, but he also gets angry whenever he is asked for any favor with regards to this. According to his beliefs, Magnifico is doing an immense favor to the world by holding on to their wishes safely, even if he does not turn them into reality, and so everyone must always be thankful towards him. Gradually, as the plot progresses, Magnifico decides to pursue dark magic in order to protect himself and is all the more resemblant of a leader who turns into an autocrat.
How does Asha fight against Magnifico?
To make matters more difficult for Asha, Magnifico makes the girl sit through the wish-granting ceremony while he makes the wish of a different woman come true. He then rejects her from the position of apprentice. Back at home, the girl tries to convince Sabino and also her mother, Sakina, about Magnifico’s ill practices, but she is misunderstood. Heartbroken that her family members and also all the people of Rosas have been duped by their selfish King, Asha spends the evening by herself in the forest, remembering the teachings of her father, who had passed away when the girl was young. Among his teachings was one in which he used to tell Asha to look up to the skies and make wishes on shooting stars. The father was intelligent, or philosophical, enough to teach that one must not depend on or look up to just one person, the King of the land, and should instead believe in one’s own self.
But then the film also seemingly gets confused with the message it tries to convey when the protagonist, Asha, has to have a star literally come down from the skies and make her believe in herself. The new character, who is named Star, turns every animal in the forest anthropomorphic with its magical powers. As the animals sing about how a star with magical powers is within each human being, Asha realizes that she must work towards her wish, which is to have the citizens of Rosas reunite with their wishes, captured by the King. With the help of Star and also that of her seven friends, Asha breaks into the study of Magnifico and manages to steal the wish crystal of Sabino. Bringing it back to her house, the girl gives it to his grandfather, who immediately remembers his wish and his purpose in life after putting it back inside him. However, this leads to worse consequences, as King Magnifico comes to Asha’s house that very night, even threateningly shattering Sakina’s wish crystal. The protagonist manages to escape with her family members as Star attacks the King, but more trouble soon comes her way.
How did King Magnifico find out about Asha?
When Star first came down from the sky, a bright flash of light was seen by everyone in the land, and it had made Magnifico terribly insecure. The man had realized that a greater magical power had come into existence, and for this reason, he employed all his might to find out the secret behind this flash of light. As part of his measures, the King announced that anyone who could bring any information about the light to him would be immediately granted their wish as a reward for their efforts.
On the next day, Asha had told her friends about Star and the powers that were now at her disposal because of this new friend, and so it became evident that one of the friends must have betrayed Asha. As revealed soon, it was Simon who had told the King about Asha and Star, for he wanted to be relieved of the frustration that loomed large over him. Simon naturally hated not having his wish with him, which had not been fulfilled either, and so he chose to tell the King about his friend, hoping that his wish would be granted.
This is how Magnifico found out about the teenager’s new friend, and when he arrives at her house, his intention is only to get hold of Star and make use of its powers for his own benefit. He grants Simon’s wish as well, which was to become a soldier in the royal army, and the King unleashes all his powers to catch Asha and Star. On the other side, the girl manages to win over another supporter in Queen Amaya, who is distraught at her husband’s evil turn, accepting that Magnifico is no longer the man she had married. Amaya and the six friends go to the castle to open up the tower, allowing everyone’s wish crystals to escape.
Meanwhile, Asha had been fighting who she believed to be Magnifico in the forest, but the opponent soon turned out to be Simon, who had been enchanted by magic to appear like the King. Magnifico was actually still inside his castle, and as Simon is subdued, the King uses his dark magic to stop all the wish crystals, and he also takes Star hostage.
What happens to King Magnifico?
As Asha reaches the palace to help Star and the people of the land, she too is taken captive by Magnifico, who is now supremely powerful. It is now that the protagonist encourages the people to stop having faith in Magnifico for their wishes and instead work towards fulfilling them on their own. Asha instills the same courage and belief among the people that Star had earlier instilled in her, and all the people start to sing in the same tune as the protagonist. This results in Star growing stronger and escaping captivity. All the wish crystals are also freed and returned to the people of Rosas, who learn the lesson of not putting all their faith in one person.
In the process, King Magnifico gets trapped inside the crystal of his own staff, and Queen Amaya, who becomes the new ruler of the lands, orders the staff to be placed inside the dungeons.
Wish‘s ending ascertains that Magnifico is defeated, but he is not necessarily destroyed or killed, which leaves a possibility of there being a sequel in which he returns. Another idea for a prequel can also be thought of, as what exactly happened with Magnifico and his family on their home island is left unclear. Star also gives Asha a magic wand before it goes away from the human world, and the protagonist is termed a fairy godmother by her friends and the people around her. As Star flies over the castle on Rosas Island, it forms the logo of Disney, and the film comes to an end. Wish also presents a short post-credits scene in which Sabino is seen playing the Disney tune on his guitar, which was a crucial part of his wish. Sabino had found out that his means of inspiring people was through singing, and therefore, the man now practices the Disney tune sitting by himself, probably symbolizing how Disney has inspired the imagination of so many over the past 100 years.