The new animated musical comes from directors Chris Buck (“Tarzan,” “Frozen”) and Fawn Veerasunthorn (“Moana,” “Raya and the Last Dragon”), with a script by Jennifer Lee (“Frozen,” “Frozen II”) and Allison Moore (“Manhunt,” “Night Sky”). The collaboration of Buck and Veerasunthorn represents a blending of multiple generations, as Buck joined the company as a hand-drawn animator under the tutelage of Eric Larson (one of Disney’s famed “Nine Old Men”) while Veerasunthorn joined the studio in 2011 as a story artist on “Frozen.”
Academy Award-winner Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story,” “Schmigadoon”) stars as Asha, performing opposite Chris Pine (“Into the Woods,” “Dungeons & Dragons: Den of Thieves”) as King Magnifico. Additionally, Disney animation’s “good luck charm,” Alan Tudyk voices Asha’s pet goat, Valentino. The film also features the voices of Angelique Cabral, Victor Garber, Natasha Rothwell, Jennifer Kumiyama, Evan Peters, Harvey Guillén, Ramy Youssef, Niko Vargas, Della Saba, and Jon Rudnitsky.
With no exaggeration, DeBose was born to voice a Disney protagonist. Her vocal prowess is truly unmatched, and her speaking voice is filled with so much life and wonder. Pine is equally a formidable foe, reminding us all once again that the man has a lovely singing voice and that Hollywood has completely wasted their opportunity to cast him in villainous roles outside of, say, “Horrible Bosses 2.”
“Wish” also features seven new songs penned by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/musician Benjamin Rice. Michaels is the youngest person to ever write all of the music for a Disney animated feature, blending together the sounds of classic Disney, Renaissance-era tunes from Howard Ashman/Alan Menken, and the vibrant pop sounds of today. We only had the chance to hear a few tunes, but the film’s “I Want” song, the showstopper “This Wish” feels like the next “Let it Go.” Calling it now, children will be singing it non-stop and musical theatre majors will be flooding your local karaoke bars for the chance to belt it out.