In 1999, Animaniacs was pretty much on its last leg as Kids' WB!'s signature show — many of its writers and voice actors had moved on to Histeria! and Pokémon was fast becoming the most successful show of the block — but at the end of the year, the series was given a Grand Finale in the form of the feature-length Direct-to-Video movie Wakko's Wish.
In the film's continuity, the majority of the regular cast of Animaniacs — and a few extras here and there — are living happily in Acme Falls, a nice town in the peaceful kingdom of Warnerstock that is ruled by Sir William the Good. When King William passes away, King Salazar the Pushy of the neighboring kingdom Ticktockia takes over Warnerstock and sends everyone into misery thanks to overtaxing. The Warners — Yakko, Wakko, and Dot — are a trio of orphans who are suffering more than any other Acme Falls resident, especially Dot (who is in need of a vital operation).
One cold winter night, Wakko wishes upon a star — and happens to choose the one wishing star in the sky, which then falls into the mountains; the first person to touch it gets exactly one wish. The Warner siblings, eager to make their dreams come true, begin their quest to get to the wishing star so Wakko can make his wish — but the rest of the citizens of Acme Falls are after it as well, and so is King Salazar. Who will get to the wishing star first and make their wish? And will any of them find lasting happiness with a tyrant like King Salazar doing his best to take it all away?
- Achievements in Ignorance: Done with Buttons when he attempts to climb a tree, only to fall down when Mindy points out that dogs can't climb trees.
- Acme Products: Not only does the movie take place in Acme Falls, but also an anvil with "ACME" written on it falls on Baloney.
- Adipose Rex: Subverted, as King Salazar has a pretty toned physique. (We see him naked - well, semi-naked - in the bathtub.)
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The Wheel of Morality finally presents an actual moral at the end.
- And Starring: Bernadette Peters as Rita.
- Anvil on Head: Happens to Baloney (extra points for the anvil having "ACME" written on it).
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Buttons the dog, as in the series, but his heroism is finally recognized and rewarded.
- Big Bad: Baron Plotz is set up as one, but it's really King Salazar.
- Big Damn Movie: Wakko's Wish is this compared to the series.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: The nation of Warnerstock being taken over by the neighboring Ticktockia is apparently a reference to the Time-Warner merger that occurred in 1990- though Time didn't take over the company (indeed, WB's rival Paramount actually interfered via suing), but presumably someone on the writing staff disliked the merger for whatever reason. Also note how Salazar is referred to as a "corporate raider".
- The Cameo: Chicken Boo only makes a brief appearance during the scene when the people of Acme Falls are being held in a prison camp by Salazar; Katie Kaboom and her mother and father are there too.
- Chekhov's Gun: Dot's acting lessons are brought up again during her Disney Death. The story Yakko tells her at night also gets referenced as the Warners are of royal blood.
- Continuity Nod:
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Salazar sends the Warners through The Cave of Your Worst Nightmares, where they are scared by Baloney, a filthy gas station bathroom, and Mr. Director (all of which they encountered previously on the series).
- Covers Always Lie: The traditional water tower, which is on the cover of the VHS, isn't actually anywhere in the movie. It's replaced with a crumbling wooden "water tower shanty" as befitting of the setting.
- Crowd Song: Most of them features most of the main cast getting at least one solo line.
- Demoted to Extra: Given the huge cast, it's not unreasonable. A notable example is Minerva Mink. She has some of her own singing lines and gets mentioned in the credits, but she's usually in the background with the two women and three men of Acme Falls that make up the chorus. The Hip Hippos didn't even get their own lines, they were just chorus members.
- Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: If King Salazar hadn't wasted time building a barricade around the Wishing Star and capturing his rivals, he would have got the wish.
- Disgusting Public Toilet: The public restroom Wakko visited in the main series episode "Potty Emergency" appears again when the Warners are sent to The Cave Of Your Worst Nightmares. It goes to the same gas station, but the owner says he hasn't cleaned the bathroom in THREE years (also complete with Evil Laugh). The Warners scream in terror and disgust when they saw the inside of the bathroom.
- Disney Death: Dot, who turned out to just be acting like she was dead to get the king arrested.
- Don't Look Down:Yakko: Whoa! Just don't look down.
Wakko: Do you get vertigo?
Wakko: Me neither.
Yakko: Yeah, I've seen that movie three times and I still don't get it.
- The Dragon: Plotz works for King Salazar and is ordered to try and get the wishing star.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Everyone (except the Mime and the Big Bad) works their butts off throughout the entire movie trying to get the Wishing Star; thanks to Wakko, they end up all getting what they wanted. For Woobies like Runt, Rita, and Buttons, they really earned their happy ending — and then some!
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Some of Salazar's royal army turn against him after he seemingly killed Dot.
- Plotz is willing to tax the citizens to the extreme because it's his job. He's perfectly willing to steer the other townsfolk off course or stall them from reaching the Wishing Star, but he refuses to kill them.
- Everyone Hates Mimes: The Mime is the one reason that Acme Falls was not an entirely perfect place to live, and he is physically abused even through the saccharine epilogue.Plotz: "Clear the way, you stupid mime!"Cast: "He gets trampled all the time."
- Evil Brit: King Salazar is the main villain and speaks with a British accent.
- Fantastic Racism: Brain doesn't approve of Pinky's relationship with Pharfignewton, the only reasoning he gives being the fact that Pinky and Pharfignewton are two different species.
- Fat Bastard: Baron Von Plotz and The Constable are both very fat, and in many scenes The Baron is stuffing his face.
- Feelies: The video came with a rolling toy of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot on snowboards stuck under the plastic. Like with the VHS release of Quest for Camelot, the toy was under the plastic of the clamshell cover and difficult to remove.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: Thanks to the show's Loads and Loads of Characters, the movie spends the majority of its times simply establishing what each Cast Herd wants, and spends the rest of the time flipping between them all the way to the conclusion.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: One part of Dot's story has Yakko doing this to Dot.
- From Bad to Worse: The Warners used to live in a really awful orphanage. But things only got worse for them after it was shut down, to the point that they're outright nostalgic for it.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: As always.Yakko: All of the shops are closin',
Dot: Things couldn't get much worse,
Skippy: [holding up acorns encased in ice] Even my nuts are frozen,
Slappy: Be careful with that last verse!
Dot: Tell me the story.Yakko: Okay. 'There once was a man from Nantucket...'Dot: Not that story!
- "He used to like nuts; now he's discovered dates!"
- Hello Nurse's wish is to be appreciated for more than her looks, and she later designs a bottle for Scratchansniff's elixir that is said to be popular because of its more attractive shape. The bottle happens to have a shape similar to Hello Nurse's curvaceous figure.
- During the start of the Hungarian Rhapsody inspired "The Wishing Star" a man looks out his window, with two other women in their own bedclothes.
- Grand Finale: Although it's set in an Alternate Universe, Wakko's Wish more or less wraps up all the major character's individual stories from the main series.
- Heel–Face Turn: Von Plotz and Ralph abandon their evil ways before the denouement.
- Humble Goal: As it turns out, what Wakko really wants is two ha'pennies!
- Ill Girl: Dot is portrayed as needing an operation. Subverted in that it turns out the operation was only to give her a beauty mark on her cheek.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Dot; subverted in that the operation she needs is actually "plastic surgery, to implant a beauty mark on her cheek," as Scratchansniff says it.
- Interspecies Romance: Pinky (a mouse) and Pharfignewton (a horse) are once again shown as being a couple.
- Iron Butt Monkey: The Mime gets trampled by carriages repeatedly, gets bashed in the head with heavy objects, and Yakko drops a safe on him at the end, but aftetwards, he is never the worse for wear.
- "I Want" Song: Titled "When You Wish on a Wishing Star" and it mentions the wishes of all the main cast note
- Jabba Table Manners: Baron Von Plotz eats like a slob.
- Karma Houdini: Baron Von Plotz and his lackey the town Constable have their wishes come true, although, they do a Heel–Face Turn and redeem themselves slightly before that happens.
- Knight of Cerebus: Whilst he does have some humorous moments, Salazar is portrayed significantly more seriously than the majority of "villains" (who were jerks more than they were evil) in the series.
- Literal Genie: The Warners try to convince Salazar that the Wishing Star is one of these, in one of the film's more hilarious scenes. The examples they give include a wish to be 16 years old forever resulting in him living the 16th year of his life forever and a wish for the world giving him nothing but a globe. He quickly loses his patience after one too many gags.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Dot appears to be this for much of the movie, but it turns out she was just acting the entire time, and the "surgery" she was trying to get was having a beauty mark added.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Everyone from the main show, except for the Hip Hippos and Minerva Mink, had a substantial role.
- Logo Joke: Wakko joins Bugs Bunny in the opening logo and takes a bite of the WB shield.
- Make a Wish: The whole point of the movie.
- Master Actor: Dot. This comes in handy at the end.
- Moral Dissonance: The other residents of Acme Falls, while sympathetic to Dot's illness, immediately start thinking of their own dreams when they hear of the Wishing Star, and immediately start racing the Warner siblings to get to the star first.
- May cross over into Fridge Brilliance in the ending. She was never dying at all, the surgery she wanted was for a beauty mark on her cheek.
- The Movie: A full-length animated film that allows the series Animaniacs to end on a high note.
- Mundane Wish: The wish that Wakko ultimately makes is for two ha'pennies. Subverted in that these ha'pennies are enough to fulfill everyone's dreams.
- Multiple-Choice Past: The Warners' original backstory from the TV series is completely chucked, so that now instead of being cartoon characters created in 1930, they are the long-lost children of the king and queen whom Salazar overthrew. This being a non-canon storyline, and the Warner's past not being a huge facet of their character, it made sense.
- The Musical: Just like South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, there are quite a number of musical numbers between the dialogue.
- My Friends... And A Mime: Well, no place is perfect!
- Oh, Crap!:
- Buttons, when he sees Flavio and Marita about to cross the suspension bridge he's just barely clinging to.
- "Silly Buttons, puppies can't climb trees!"
- Omnicidal Maniac: In one scene King Salazar says that when he gets his wish, everyone will be gone.
- Orphanage of Fear: The Warner siblings had to live in one of these. After it shuts down, they realize it wasn't so bad: They at least had food and heat.
- Pet the Dog:
- More like "Give the Dog a Meal for All His Troubles for Buttons." The ultimate Pet the Dog, seeing as all his heroism in the entire TV show went unrewarded. Earlier in the story, Mindy gives a clearly hungry Buttons the pie she was supposed to deliver to her grandmother.
- In the ending, Pinky is appointed a stable hand, so he gets to spend all the time he likes with Pharfignewton. It happens that Brain was the one who appointed him in spite of his earlier disdain for their relationship.
- Plant Person: Dot appears to be this, at least if we are to believe the bedtime story Yakko is always telling her.
- Produce Pelting: Used in a one scene just to show how unpopular Salazar the Pushy is.
- Ridiculous Future Inflation: Inverted; Acme Falls is suffering from such grinding poverty and horrendous economic deflation that a ha'penny is a massive windfall.
- Rightful King Returns: The Warners turned out to be part of the royal line, so we see them on the thrones wearing Cool Crowns that are too big for their heads.
- Sequel Hook: The Brain actually breaks The Fourth Wall at the end of the movie and states they are going to plan a hostile take over of The Kingdom of Warnerstock and then The World.
- Series Goal: Some of the minor characters pursue the Wishing Star to resolve their subplots, e.g. Rita and Runt want a permanent home; Buttons wants to be acknowledged for his heroism; Brain wants to rule the world, etc. Most of them come true — kinda.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Dot's vital operation, which turned out to be just getting her a beauty mark.
- When Pinky first goes to see Pharfignewton, he quotes the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.
- In the film's teaser, Wakko is seen carrying an exact duplicate of the iconic sled Rosebud from Orson Welles' classic Citizen Kane. He then proceeds to toss it into a fire to warm him, Yakko, and Dot.
- When Wakko returns from making his ha'penny the musical number is remarkably similar to "The Wells Fargo Wagon" from The Music Man.
- The song when the Warners tell the town about the Wishing Star is the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.
- Spoiler Title: Guess who gets to the Wishing Star first. Wakko.
- The Starscream: Baron Von Plotz has ambitions of overthrowing Salazar and becoming King himself. He wants the wishing star for himself so he can wish to be King.
- Tempting Fate: "You know, for a cave of your worst nightmares, this isn't so bad."
- That Reminds Me of a Song: The characters spend almost as much time singing as they do talking.
- Throw the Dog a Platter of Steaks: Buttons finally gets rewarded for keeping Mindy safe.
- Rita and Runt get the home they've always yearned for when they are adopted by Doctor Scratchnsniff.
- While he doesn't get the world, The Brain does finally achieve some political power.
- Triumphant Reprise: At the very end of the film, the entire cast sings a cheery, non depressed reprise of "Never Give Up Hope" after Acme Falls is prosperous once again.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Wakko causes an avalanche that buries everyone with one very loud belch. They all survive though.
- Villain Song: King Salazar at one point sings about how much he wants the wishing star.
- Villainous Glutton: Baron von Plots is constantly stuffing his face in the first half of the movie.
- Visual Pun: The Warners literally kick Salazar out of the palace.
- Also, in the end, when Pesto says: "Finally, people are looking up to us," the "camera" pans out to reveal that he and the other two Goodfeathers are on top of a high column with statues of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot pointing to them. People are literally looking up to them.
- Win-Win Ending: Everyone getting his or her wish. Except for The Mime. And also King Salazar.
- Zillion-Dollar Bill: Because Acme Falls has fallen on such hard times, a ha'penny is treated as this, and two of them is what restores it to being perfect (except for The Mime).