Reviews: Wakkos Wish
Doesn't know if it's a parody or not...
This is an odd movie. I can't really decide who its target audience is, because it so heavily relies on the viewer knowing the show and the characters that it can be hard to follow for the new viewer — but at the same time the tone and feel of the movie is so different from the TV series that it might be off-putting to the fans, who (like me) end up comparing it negatively to the series. Let's be clear: This is not Animaniacs at its finest. Despite some good animation (courtesy of TMS) and of course the same brilliant voice-actors, it's neither as funny nor as intelligent as the better episodes of the series. The songs aren't quite as memorable or catchy either, and the plot is far too often bogged-down with some rather cheap and unnecessary drama. And that's the biggest problem here. Wakko's Wish can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a Sincere, Emotional and Heartwarming Feel-Good Story, or a parody of Sincere, Emotional and Heartwarming Feel-Good Stories. It tries to insert a lot of Tear Jerker scenes (of the kind that the series routinely mocked) and plays them straight... except then it inserts a lot of bits where it subverts and parodies its own drama... and then it goes back to doing more Tear Jerker scenes.... which it again subverts and tries to mock later on. And so on. It doesn't quite work. Maybe with a sharper, wittier script it could have — but as it is, both drama and comedy feel somewhat half-hearted here. It's like the movie takes itself much too seriously, while at the same time loudly denying that it takes itself too seriously. That's not to say the movie fails at everything. It's at its best when it just allows itself to be silly — the Warners interacting with King Salazar is for the most part pretty entertaining (though some of the Literal Genie jokes are pretty predictable), and Pinky and the Brain are probably the highlight of the movie as their sub-plot never tries to go for the dramatic at all. There's also some good dialogue scattered throughout the movie, much of it coming from Yakko. Those parts work, and if the movie had played up the comedy more, this would have been a far more successful finale to Animaniacs. As it is, though, Wakko's Wish remains an underwhelming effort.
I Liked It
Having watched the Grand Finale to one of my favorite shows Animaniacs, I thought I should explain as to why I for one very much liked this movie. First of all, I liked the several Take That moments where they make fun of the Disney formula and poke fun at critically acclaimed movies. I also liked the Dramedy aspect of the movie mainly because Animaniacs was never simply about comedy. Of course the original show was variety. It could be tragic, heartwarming, thought provoking and even experimental on occasion. I liked the songs. They were catchy, sweet or even funny as hell when they wanted to (though it depends on one's opinion). I remember some of the cameos making me laugh and the animation was fantastic. The darker aspects felt oddly fitting in the world that the movie's set in (though I might just be the only one thinking this but who knows. Some of the funnier scenes in the movie were when they'd sneak in a Getting Crap Past the Radar moments, which I thought were amusing and got a chuckle out of me. The score was wonderful. I thought the scenes where the characters were walking to their destinations were alright and allow the film to not be strictly chaotic and at least build some atmosphere, which was nice. I enjoyed seeing my favorite characters return, like the Warners, Buttons and Mindy, Rita and Runt, Dr Scratchensniff and Hello Nurse, the Mime, the Goodfeathers, Minerva, Pinky and the Brain and many more that I could name at the top of my head. They all had their moment to shine and have their spotlight, and I'm glad that I got to see them in their own movie. I also loved the ending. I won't spoil it but I'm glad the characters I like got what they wanted. I thought it was sweet...and funny too. Overall, if you want to see this movie as the Grand Finale for what it is, give it a watch. You might actually enjoy it much like did and I understand that the film has it's flaws (everything has it's flaws otherwise, a flawless film would be dull and boring) but I feel that most of my positives overshadows and I can honestly enjoy it regardless. Thank you for reading.
Really actually kind of crap
I'd been wondering about this thing for years, seeing as it hasn't really gotten a commercial release recently, and perhaps I built up my expectations too much, because finally finding it was a huge disappointment. As a Grand Finale I suppose it works, as even if it's not in what Animaniacs fans might jokingly refer to as "continuity" it still provides a chance to see Failure Is The Only Option averted on multiple levels, but beyond that...eh? The main problem with the film is that it's not funny—or, rather, it's occasionally funny but never for long and never as much as the original show was. The main exception is a ten-minute stretch in the third act, as well as the occasional innuendo, but the film mostly plays for drama. Now, don't get me wrong, Drama Bomb Finales can and do work, but these characters simply aren't built for it, and the rather uninspired plot doesn't help much. Worse yet is that the comedy, when it does appear, is forced upon us, interrupting the pacing and killing what I presume was supposed to be tension. The other problem is the songs. Songs on the show worked because they were farcical, especially when spoofing Disney, and I was hoping the movie would take a similar route, but, like the plot-relevant bits, the songs are largely played straight, right down to the I Want Song in the second act and the Triumphant Reprise of the opening number at the end. The score shines, I'm not denying that, but the lyrics are all kinda hokey. The film's also heavily padded, with long, uneventful scenes in which the characters race towards their destination. The film is appearently a Road Movie, but the thing is that road movies only work if stuff happens during the trip. The most we get here is a few delayed character entrances. Beyond the Warners and Pinky and the Brain, most everyone is reduced to cameo status, but we're apparently supposed to care (if only a little) what's going on with them—most get to take a line in the I Want Song, and five minutes is spent at the end detailing how they got what they wanted. These characters could easily have been better utilized to fix the padding problem via extensive subplots. Alas. Overall? This movie just isn't worth an hour and twenty minutes of your time. Sit down and watch episodes of the show instead. You'll be much happier.