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WISH & THE WISP, THE

What to know: Fantasy, a bit of horror and an unexpected (yet pleasant) twist.
WISH & THE WISP, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 9-15
15 minutes
VIDEO
VASHMERE VALENTINE
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This short film is of the fantasy genre, but also includes a bit of horror, an unexpected yet pleasant twist. Rather than making the aspect of wishes fantastical and heart-warming, it turns into a sinister event with the appearance of the Wisp. This is certainly a very unique film that is made entertaining by intriguing characters, such as the complex brother and sister duo and their reminiscing grandma. The acting is passable and the pace a bit quick at times. However, the film is appealing with its innovative elements that show the hard work of the production crew.

The story flow starts off strong and slows near the ending. Throughout it, multiple camera angles let the audience see things through the perspective of its various characters. The beginning grabs your attention with its classic storytelling and sketches of monsters, wishes and children. It then moves to Sarah, who is given a wish, but suspects she is being stalked by a monster, much to her older brother's annoyance. Their interaction is somewhat comedic and amusing. The film picks up pace when we see a flashback to Mary's gripping encounter with the Wisp.

The film lacks a conclusive ending or underlying message yet, still retains refreshing elements that captivate the audience. To begin, the Wisp's appearance is a major point in the film that adds suspense and intrigue. Some children may think of the Wisp as a frightening creature, only to find him amusing as he is tricked by Mary. The interactions between characters are at times comedic, such as when the brother and sister tease each other and Mary fools the Wisp. I can see children marveling at the special effects and delving into the enigma of the Wisp and the danger that lurks about him. Older children may find the story very linear and lacking in excitement. It is more suitable for younger children that will find the Wisp silly and perhaps a bit scary.

The film is definitely watchable, although we never get much information about the Wisp's final appearance. Does he come to get his revenge by terrorizing the siblings? Was he the grandmother all along? What will become of Sarah's wish now? It ends as a cliffhanger where much is left unknown, making it a bit confusing perhaps. Aside from the ending, the film flows well as the characters are able to engage and move the plot in an interesting direction. Since the film is of the fantasy genre, the plot is based on creative imagination. With the beginning narration that is beautifully illustrated with old-fashioned sketches, the young audience is immediately attracted by the mysteriousness of the Wisp and the aspect of wish making.

At a young age when most make-believe creatures are often believed in, the film entertains those fantasies with unique characters that come from the imagination of children. The clever rhyming from the narrator and the Wisp also add to the fantastical atmosphere of the film, making it truly feel like a classic fairy tale story. In this way, the film does connect to its intended audience through the genre, dialogue and characters.

One issue I have with it is that the many scenes are too dark to see clearly. Additionally, the grandma's wig is very unrealistic looking. There is also the actual "wish" and "wish fairy" prop, which amounts to a simple light and magical sound effect, that is never shown to the audience. There are multiple camera angles that avoid directly showing the "wish" and "wish fairy" which is a disappointment. Other than that, I am quite impressed by the production quality. There are great sound effects which give a magical atmosphere to the film, such as the Wisp's entrance sounds and the magical fairy "ting" sounds. Both the set and costumes are very detailed, giving the home and characters a homey and nostalgic feel, pertaining to the normal family atmosphere they seem to be going for. The Wisp costume in particular is impressive as his fur, both freaky and realistic, contradicts his formal suit wear. Is he a sophisticated beast or a classy wish-thief? The creepy soundtrack meant for the Wisp is misplaced at times because he simply does not appear scary, even with the ominous music playing in the background. Perhaps that is a fault with the character rather than production quality. The camera angles are well executed and make the film flow smoothly. The cinematography is very clear and suitable to the big screen.

The film was an interesting watch. The audience can easily tell that the film is a product of arduous hard work and efforts from the production crew and actors, which I fully commend. The special effects, costumes and sets add to the magical, fantastical atmosphere of the story. The film itself delves into classic storytelling that deals with monsters and wishes alike. Children can relate to the desire of making wishes and the idea of mythical creatures such as beasts and fairies. Although monsters are supposed to be scary, the film takes an unexpected turn when it shows an intriguing relationship between the Wisp and an old victim of his that he attempted to steal a wish from. At times, the film is unable to convey what it wants to the audience such as the ominous presence of the Wisp and climatic ending with a cliffhanger, but makes up for this through lovable characters and amusing interactions. While the film is an entertaining watch, it lacks a conclusive ending and meaningful message. I think the film is worth the watch if one is looking for an amusing cast of unique characters and an in-depth look of classic fairy tale tropes.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14. Reviewed by Kristen N., KIDS FIRST! Juror.

Two bickering siblings learn the true value of friendship and the magic of believing, when they find a real wish and encounter the menacing creature who wants it back!?
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