Wish ★★½

The most emotion I felt during the whole thing was when Chicken Little reared his ugly head during the credits for his second Disney outing of the year. He's breaking containment... All is lost...

Normally when a studio takes inspiration from its past movies, it's done subtly and in a way that introduces old concepts to a story that still ends up feeling new. Thing is, Disney had their 100th Anniversary as their excuse to just toss all 13 Golden and Silver Age movies into a blender and call it a celebration of their legacy. And I mean, I like some of those movies! That's probably why some bits of this still had that sense of real magic and wonder, like when the town stands up above the evil green fog at the end and sings in unison to defeat Magnifico. That's Disney, baybeee.

On the other hand, there's a lot that held this back for me. Magnifico is a refreshing actual villain who seems like he's going to end up as an almost 'reluctant' antagonist, torn between whether to resort to dark magic or not because he feels the need to protect his country. Buuuut nope, then he gets corrupted by an evil book and his character from the first half is gone, replaced by someone who's evil for no purpose and doesn't even do anything that cool with his magic outside of a few neat visuals. Oh, well.

Rapunz- uh, I mean Moa- no, sorry, Mirabe- hang on, hang on... Asha is a pretty standard protagonist for this era of Disney, which really works against her here. I didn't really dislike anything about her but she doesn't stand out in any way, and her friend group being based on the Seven Dwarves is a neat throwback, but they've got the same issue the Dwarves had 86 years ago; only one or two feel like actual characters to themselves with any substance to speak of. Simon's betrayal was neatly foreshadowed by the Star being sad around him, but it's a shame he gets barely any attention or screentime both before his betrayal and during it. The goat is what Olaf haters say Olaf is. Olaf is pretty funny sometimes. The goat is not funny.

The music is pretty odd, in that most of the songs feel like they were written by someone who wanted to recreate the success of Lin and other great artists who'd worked with Disney during the Renaissance/Revival era, but missed the point of what made the lyrics of those soundtracks' songs flow so naturally. I'm not a musical person, but most of the songs just... don't say anything? Some of them just feel like pure nonsense that an AI could have written. Like, what does "throw caution to every warning sign" mean? Why is Magnifico asking me to "peep the name"? Did that deer just say "here I are"?? What's going on here? Is this really a Disney soundtrack?? A few of the songs are at least musically nice to listen to, and I do really like 'Knowing What I Know Now', so it's not a clean sweep of misses at least.

I've started referring to the movies from Raya onwards as "the Streaming Era", because if we're being honest, we're not in a Disney Revival anymore. The pandemic and the strikes have clearly taken their toll on the company (probably for the best, pay your artists and writers properly pls) and I guess it shows here. I doubt I'll watch this or even think about it much again, not because I hated it, but because it commits the blatant sin of being pretty forgettable in a hundred-year sea of better, deliberately similar movies from this studio.

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