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It is impossible to extinguish hundreds of candles on a cake with one blow. It is therefore not surprising that the Disney dream of a total film, which is to celebrate the studio’s anniversary, is only partially fulfilled. “Wish” is essentially an animated celebration, a celebration of what the studio has managed to achieve over the past decades, prepared by a real dream team and referring to the classics on almost every possible level – from music to literal plot references. Resembling a special compilation not only of singles, but also of pieces taken randomly from weaker albums, the film in question can be a puzzling creation, as if an attempt was made to assemble blocks without instructions. At the same time, the Disney method fails very rarely, even if it serves the plans prepared by tailors.

It would be easy to discredit ” Wish ” as an hour and a half entertainment/commercial film; as the birthday soundtrack of an indulging studio, a toast to the mirror for one’s own prosperity. Because in fact, the main theme known from “Pinocchio“, recycled here several times, and even the plot repeating the fairy tale about making dreams come true, which has been spun by Disney since the beginning, are associated with a crafted product rather than an artistically fulfilled work. But the treasury of the American label actually hides incredible miracles and it’s hard not to be enchanted by it, even if it’s just the tricks of a street juggler whose companion picks our pockets during the performance.

That would be too harsh a judgment, as “Wish” stubbornly refuses to stick to its designated role as a surrogate, a counterfeit. This is achieved in short bursts, mainly thanks to the almost circus-like arrangement of all the (well-written!) musical extravaganzas that are served here without respite. Modest solo performances are interspersed with animal, vaudeville dances. And the pre-final song, calling for a rebellion against the despotic monarch, will be, at worst, hummed from the rooftops, and at best, sung at the Oscar gala. And although the subsequent fragments of a somewhat conventional plot are more like bridges leading from issue to issue, the story of Asha, who is maturing to rebellion, still stands on its own two feet.

This story, told by, among others, Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, responsible for the success of both parts of “Frozen“, takes place everywhere and nowhere. Mainly on the island, where there is a king and a magician at the same time, a certain Magnifico, who has the secret of fulfilling the wishes of his subjects. Every month he chooses one of them, making a random dreamer happy. Asha, who above all wants to become his student and, ultimately, his successor (an open quote from “Fantasia“, although purely ornamental), however, learns the truth about the ruler who keeps unfulfilled wishes and thus deprives the islanders of ambition, which makes them docile and obedient. An almost Huxleyian question is asked about the cost of happiness, because we are talking about a kingdom where there is universal consent, where there is no place for discrimination, where cultures, races and orientations mix. Hence, Asha, who wants to return dreams to dreamers, may seem like a tempting snake offering a worm-infested apple in the garden of paradise. Of course, there is no room for a moral dilemma here. The king quickly descends into wickedness, and the answer becomes obvious.

For Asha, the trapped wishes are not only symbols of stripping her loved ones of their individualism, but also of depriving them of their causative power. These are, of course, only guesses, because the rules of the presented world are very unclear and often paradoxical. The Disney studio itself would probably like to see itself as a star from the sky that comes to help the girl achieve her mission. He gives human voices to the surrounding animals (Valentino, the goat who accompanies Asha, shares his dream of utopia with anthropomorphic mammals). It pours, like Tinker Bell, the magic dust from which we came and which we will inevitably return to. He ascribes to himself an almost demiurgic role. But in this light, the figure of Magnifik and his mad dances resemble a warning issued by the company to itself.

The prefabricated elements from which “Wish” was assembled are solid. Modern and traditional animation techniques are mixed here, using both a stylus and a brush. Although it must be admitted that the film has some cheap moments, as if all the energy was redirected to musical numbers. Overall, it worked well to check off the boxes from the list of obligatory treatments and motifs for a Disney blockbuster. But what is most disappointing in a story that praises the pursuit of that “something” that makes us human is that the creators of “Wish” do not follow the principles they preach. It was as if they were told to follow the path trodden by hundreds of predecessors, because it will lead us to the same place anyway.

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