Disney's Wish Movie Controversy Explained

By Klein Felt Posted:
Asha in Wish movie

Disney's latest movie Wish seems to have found itself swamped in controversy mere days after release. 

Disney Animation's new musical epic serves as a celebration of the renowned studio's 100th year of operation, telling the story of a young girl named Asha who makes an all-powerful wish upon a star to unexpected consequences. 

The film has not gotten off to the best start, receiving middling reviews from critics (sitting at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes), despite being pitched as the culmination of a century of Disney stories. 

Those critical of the film have called its plot "thin" (via John Campea) and lacking the magic of previous Disney movies. 

Explaining the Wish Movie Controversy

Wish Prince

Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Wish

With Disney's Wish out in theaters now, a bit of controversy has started stirring surrounding the animated film. 

While critiques have been levied at the film for its lack of engaging narrative, the biggest pressure point causing some to take issue is the blatant Easter eggs and fan service in the blockbuster. 

Seeing as Wish was released - in part - to celebrate the 100th birthday of Disney itself, there are several callbacks in the movie to other films from the studio's storied portfolio. 

As pointed out by fans on Reddit (via X user Saga_23_), Wish features the studio "[trying] to tie every other canon Disney movie together into one shared universe."

This takes shape in the film's main character Asha becoming Cinderella's Fary Godmother, Chris Pine's King Magnifico turning into the Magic Mirror from Snow White, the star being the same star from Pinocchio, and Alan Tudyk's deep-voiced goat Valentino saying he is going to found Zootopia. 

While some have been excited to see Disney's history honored in this way on-screen, others have not so much. 

As put by Sean Collier of Pittsburgh Magazine, Wish is "so determined to be a Disney movie that it forgets to be a good movie."

And this seems to be the biggest issue. Because the movie's plot is so paper thin, with characters falling into archetypes with little to no motivation, the Easter eggs come off as blatant fan service-y distractions as opposed to the celebration of 100 years of moviemaking. 

If Wish's narrative had hit with audiences and critics a little better, then these callbacks would have likely been viewed as clever winks at the camera. 

Did Wish Need So Many Disney Easter Eggs?

Of course, Disney was going to do something special on the big screen for its 100th anniversary celebrations. The centennial festivities have permeated every aspect of the studio's business for the last eleven months. 

But given the lukewarm reception to Wish's studio Easter eggs, some are going to start to wonder if including these nostalgia-goggled callbacks was worth it. 

According to Wish co-director Peter Del Vecho (from an exclusive interview with The Direct), there was a concerted effort to "evoke everything that [they] love about Disney animated movies for the past 100 years:"

“Right from the beginning, there was a daunting challenge, and that was: it had to evoke everything that we love about Disney animated movies for the past 100 years. So, that was daunting, but it quickly turned from that into joy. Because we're all Disney fans and the passion to tell the story, everybody in the studio wanted to be a part of it. From the beginning, that was the biggest challenge. How do you embrace that and yet tell them original story with original songs and characters.” 

The byproduct of this concerted effort was these Disney-themed nuggets for audiences to find. 

The team behind Wish was obviously trying to make a great movie, as most creatives do. But perhaps the focus on getting these Easter eggs in there distracted from crafting something special that could stand on its own. 

Maybe the best way to honor Disney's illustrious history would have been to craft a film that was as widely celebrated as some of its all-time classics. 

Wish is now playing in theaters. 

- In This Article: Wish
Release Date
November 22, 2023
Ariana DeBose
Chris Pine
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.