Disney has released Wish Gone Amiss, a three-episode compilation of Hannah Montana, Cory in the House, and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody. The connecting hook for these three episodes is a shooting star, wished upon by Miley/"Hannah," Cory, Zach and Cody in each of their stories, which comically affects their lives after their wishes are granted. Fans of these popular Disney Channel tween-coms will no doubt enjoy this collection, although I would imagine that these individual episodes repeat all the time on the cable network.
The Cory in the House episode appears first. In it, Cory (Kyle Massey), as usual, is given an assignment by his father (Rondell Sheridan) (making sure that his father's pies don't burn) that he flubs (because of another money-making scheme), which puts him in dutch with not only his dad, but with the President (John D'Aquino) and the rest of the White House staff. Seeing a shooting star, Cory wishes that he was President, and his wish is granted. Soon, Cory is shooting hoops in the Oval Office - and fending off magnetic robot versions of all his friends when Cory discovers wishing for a new life isn't always the best plan.
The Hannah Montana episode is next, with Miley (Miley Cyrus) again lamenting the schizo life she leads. When singing star Jesse McCartney (himself) comes backstage to visit "Hannah" after one of her concerts, Miley is forced to turn down his offers of going out, because of her commitments in her real-world life. Seeing a shooting star, Miley wishes she was "Hannah" all the time. Granted the wish by Roxy (Frances Callier), Hannah soon finds out that her life has changed for the worse, because Miley never existed. Her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) is married to a gold-digger; her brother Jackson (Jason Earles) is now a bedraggled hermit scaring people on the beach, and her best friend Lilly (Emily Osment) is a superficial, mean teen who never knew the nice Miley. Will Hannah get a second chance to be Miley again?
Finally, The Suite Life of Zach & Cody episode rounds out the disc, with the twins (Dylan and Cole Sprouse), tired of being "pushed around and not listened to," wishing on a shooting star for super powers. Soon, with various abilities like super-speed and super-strength, the twins soon find themselves in even deeper trouble than before their fateful wish upon a star.
I've written before about all three of these series (please click on Hannah Montana, Cory in the House, and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody to read those reviews), and my assessment of them hasn't changed after watching these episodes. Cory in the House is a mildly diverting tween-com, with some nice energy from its enthusiastic cast. The Suite Life with Zach & Cody is truly wretched, with unfunny scripting and two resistible leads. And Hannah Montana is the stand-out: a genuinely funny tween-com with clever, amusing scripts, and a knock-out performance by natural Miley Cyrus. And not surprisingly, the episodes in Wish Gone Amiss follow right along those previous guidelines. The Hannah Montana episode is by far the best, with a genuinely funny performance by Jason Earles as an old-coot hermit, along with some funny beat-box numbers by Mitchell Musso and Moises Arias.
The full screen, 1.33:1 video transfers for all three episodes in Wish Gone Amiss is pretty much what you'd expect. The picture isn't super-sharp, with plenty of compression issues and combing artifacts. But little kids won't mind, especially if they're watching these on their small bedroom TVs.
The Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround stereo mix is more than enough audio for these shows (Hannah Montana's catchy little theme song sounds particularly good here). English subtitles and close-captions are included.
There's a throw-away featurette included, Backstage Disney: I Wish I May, I Wish I Might: A Guide to Making Wishes, hosted by Jason Earles, that looks at the guidelines for successful wish-making. Clips from various classic Disney movies and cartoons are used as illustrations. It runs 4:52.
Wish Gone Amiss is a tough disc to recommend, because these episodes no doubt are repeated often on their home cable network. Will your child want to watch these more than once, when they've probably already seen them a few times on TV? And with only three episodes included on the disc, you have to weight that relatively paltry number against the price of the disc. I'm going to suggest a rental if you're unfamiliar with the shows. Wish Gone Amiss might make a nice stocking stuffer this Christmas, but see if your child has already watched these episodes. They're fine, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Paul Mavis is an internationally published film and television historian, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and the author of The Espionage Filmography.