LOS ANGELES — Wish, the new animated musical movie marking Walt Disney Co.’s 100th anniversary, reaches back to its modest beginnings to inspire future generations.
The lavish folk tale draws from the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” from the 1940 cartoon film Pinocchio, about a puppet wishing to become a real boy.
The “power and importance of wishing” is key to storytelling, magic and possibility in the studio, said Walt Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee, who wrote the new film, in an interview.
“A simple word … unlocked a complex story from such a simple idea that’s at the heart of Disney itself,” said Ms. Lee, who wrote and directed Disney’s Frozen, one of the highest grossing animated movies with box office receipts of $1.28 billion in 2013 when it was released.
In Wish, which opens in theaters on Nov. 22, 17-year-old Asha makes a passionate plea to the stars after she senses a darkness in the Kingdom of Rosas. A magical Star responds and helps her challenge the powerful King Magnifico, a sorcerer, after sensing his evil intentions.
Actor Chris Pine, who provides Magnifico’s voice, said he was moved by “the elegant way of celebrating the 100-year anniversary by making a film that’s all about probably the most iconographic part of the Disney brand, which is ‘When You Wish Upon a Star.’”
“So, to make a movie where one of the stars is that star, we’re talking about dreams, dreams that are personified by these stars, I think is really beautiful,” Mr. Pine added.
Walt Disney Studios was founded in 1923 in Hollywood, California, by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney, making it the world’s oldest running animation studio. Disney movies are usually based on classic fairy or folk tales, mixing romance, humor, sadness, high-stakes action, and self-discovery.
“It’s just in the Disney DNA,” said Ariana DeBose, who lends her voice to Asha. “Not just to wish, but usually sing to their heart’s desire, and so I think it’s important to this movie obviously. I think it will be important to many Disney movies in the future too.” — Reuters