The Wessex Wire

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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

ARTS COMMENTARY: Disney’s latest films are falling short of their usual magic

“Wish” is the latest in a string of works from Disney that deserve their lukewarm public reception.
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Illustration by Maddie Ko
Modern Disney animated films feel like they’ve lost the “Disney magic” of the classics.

Known for their children’s films with catchy music, beautiful animation and clever storytelling, Disney is one of the most iconic brands in the world. It has a magical presence even in adults’ hearts. But lately, they’ve been anything but. 

With the release of their latest movie, “Wish,” in November 2023, it has become abundantly clear that the quality of movies that were once so magical has significantly declined within the last few years. The “Wish” movie tells the story of Asha in the Kingdom of Rosas, where everyone in the kingdom gives up their wish at eighteen to their king.  It had the potential to be a new Disney classic, but unfortunately, it fell short. The music is generic at best, a Lin Manuel Miranda rip-off at worst, and the main protagonist is just a slight variation on every recent Disney protagonist. The plot itself is incoherent, flawed, weak and full of references that only serve to remind people of better Disney movies.

But this is not just a “Wish” problem, it’s a Disney problem. Disney has gotten lazy and sloppy amidst their ever-increasing popularity. They have resorted back to a pattern that had been working for them, and refuse to change with the times, producing low-quality movies none of their viewers want, need, or even like. 

From “Wish” to their latest live actions, it’s become abundantly clear that Disney doesn’t care about their audience and their audience doesn’t care for Disney. Social media has bashed “Wish,” calling the music a knockoff of Lin Manuel Miranda’s style of music, the villain boring and the other characters annoying. 

And what was Disney’s response?

To push the marketing of “Wish” extensively. Already, plushies of the character Star are everywhere and Asha, the main protagonist, is already a Barbie doll. There are themed Mickey ears, cups, more plushies, pajamas, shirts and figurines. While the show was for kids, a lot of these products are for older Disney fans, who have all made it clear they have little enthusiasm for this movie. Obviously, this film was not made with the audience’s interest in mind, only has a cash grab interested in massive consumption

Whether it’s a misreading of the audience or blatant disregard, Disney needs to pay more attention to what audiences want. Disney movies might be marketed for kids, but they are beloved, and more importantly, seen by all. If Disney wants to continue being the brand people know and love, they should start by taking a closer look at what they’re making. 

Behind the Byline
Delaney Piccoli, Arts & Culture Editor
Delaney Piccoli is an Arts & Culture Editor for the Wessex Wire. When she isn't scribbling in her notebook (or reading), she is a part of Masquers and the West Essex Concert choir. Whenever the time arises, she convinces her younger siblings to eat her burnt candy attempts.
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