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I am a huge fan of Animaniacs. I have been hooked ever since the show was introduced to me as a child. I watched the show every day and even owned some of the videos. And yet somehow, I managed to miss Wakko's Wish until very recently. Now, having finally seen it, I must say that I was fairly disappointed that this stands as the brilliant show's swan song.
There is a famous quote that says, "And this above all, to thine own self be true." It would have been nice for the makers of Wakko's Wish to take this into consideration. Most of my problem with the movie was that it tried to make Animaniacs into something it wasn't. Most of the time, Animaniacs (at least, the segments featuring the Warners, who starred in this) was pretty off-the-wall stuff. It was generally pretty zany, and full of jokes that adults would be more likely to understand than kids. There were flashes of that in Wakko's Wish, but overall, it felt like the movie was trying harder to cater to little ones. Also, it didn't feel right that there were so many scenes with *touching moments* in them. They felt out of place for these characters, especially the Warners. And worse, it made the tone of the movie seem uneven when there were scenes that were actually Warner-like, especially the scene with the evil king. That scene *should not* feel out of place in an Animaniacs movie! It should be the norm rather than the exception. And what probably what made me saddest about this movie were the songs. I've always loved the music from Animaniacs, but this was overkill. Even worse, most of the songs weren't fun or funny, which is a crime in the world of Animaniacs. Those songs just made the whole thing come off sounding like a low-rent Disney knock-off. (It's so painful to say that about anything having to do with Animaniacs, but it's true here, sadly.)
Wakko's Wish took the Warners into uncharacteristically dramatic territory, but this was made more palatable by the wonderful vocal cast. They actually did a very good job acting through the more emotional scenes, especially the actors who play Yakko (Rob Paulsen), Wakko (Jess Harnell), and Dot (Tress MacNeille). They were able to make the somewhat corny material have a bit of emotional impact.
Wakko's Wish could have been much better than it was. We could have seen a lot more of the Warners that we've come to know and love, and it would have been nice if there had been fewer songs (and if those few could have been up to par with the music from the TV show!) But overall, Wakko's Wish was a nice little movie, and a nice (if not entirely fitting) farewell to the world of Animaniacs.
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