‘World’s Best’ REVIEW: Disney’s Ditching Sequel Storytelling

*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for World’s Best*

Disney+ is ushering in a new era of stories and adventures for viewers of all ages, but “sequel fatigue” has long plagued audiences since the rise of streaming services.

Now, when we most need it, Disney has released a holistically original story with heart.

World’s Best, the all-new original streaming movie, now calls Disney+ its home, and Disney fans need to give it a watch.

After a string of underperforming original movies and series that went under the radar by most audiences, it’s clear that 20th Century Studios understands that they need to take a new direction with their filmmaking and storytelling to help Disney+ rise in success.

Breaking Basics

From the moment we first meet Prem Patel (Manny Magnus), audiences can expect a “typical” coming-of-age middle school/high school story harkening to the likes of The Breakfast Club (1985) or Sixteen Candles (1984), the hallmarks of teen stories. The opening dream sequence broken by Prem’s buzzing alarm brings viewers into the world of a son of a widowed mother, ultimately calling on a typical Disney trope.

Playing safe within the boundaries of an opening act, a sudden shift in the overall tone occurs when the “too cool for you” Jerome (Max Malas), Patel’s best friend, informs Prem that they should take a break as “bros.” The camera cuts to a beautiful wide-angle shot of Prem standing isolated on his middle school’s track. Paired with the beautiful score of the talented Jongnic Bontemps (Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Wedding Season) and Raashi Kulkarni (Wedding Season, Barefoot Empress), the scene stands out as one of the most cinematic and darn right original moments out of Disney+’s catalog of countless made-for-streaming movies to date.

Finally, something visual to grab onto.

(L-R): Manny Magnus as Prem and Utkarsh Ambudkar as Suresh in WORLD’S BEST, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Ben Mark Holzberg. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

REMIND: ‘Elemental’ REVIEW: Pixar’s Back to Their Roots

Left to find his way through the mathematical surroundings of his school, Prem turns to his deceased father’s past. Upon discovering his late father, Suresh (Utkarsh Ambudkar), was a local hip-hop and rap prodigy, Prem launches into an infatuation with songwriting that replaces his love of mathematics.

Upon placing his dad’s golden chain around his next, the ghost of Suresh appears in his son’s room. With a Ghost (1990) meets Weird Science (1985) setting, one might assume that Prem will become the “world’s best” rapper and win his school’s talent show, right? Think again.

Prem, a mathematic genius of a 12-year-old, is shoved into the stereotype of an end-all-be-all school nerd (think Michael Anthony Hall’s Brian Johnson from The Breakfast Club) but quickly breaks free and leaves his academics and the upcoming mathematic behind for music.

With the second act rolling free, it’s all roads to Prem winning the school talent show because this is a Disney movie, and that’s always how things end for the protagonist, right?

Wait, What Just Happened?

Upon his mother, Priya (Punman Patel), discovering Prem’s somewhat unhealthy obsession with music-making and hip-hop, the young singer is forced to back out of the talent show upon a recent scuttle with another student at school.

Wait, weren’t we just set up for the third act with Prem winning the talent show? Isn’t this a Disney movie? Again, my assumptions were wrong.

We love a loser, especially in this case when our perception of a story act is completely thrown off. Throwing some emotional weight with the heartfelt mourning that Manny Magnus portrays with the realization that he won’t always have his father by his side — particularly when Prem realizes that he has to leave this obsession of music behind (and with it, his father) — I’m surprised to see our main character lose.

The fact that the preconceived notion of everything having to end up perfect for the main character being torn apart is refreshing, especially for a Disney+ movie.

Now it’s an underdog story. We need to see our hero win.

Giving Life Back to Music

Though the Disney Channel boasts an impressive catalog of beloved original pieces of music from such franchises as High School Musical and the legendary Teen Beach Movie, the flare of Hamilton comes into full force through each original rap song in World’s Best.

Staying true to the West Coast elements of 1990s rap and early 2000s hip-hop, WB boasts an impressive fleet of foot-tapping songs that will get stuck in your head.

On top of that, the music propels the story, falling into an easy pit trap of randomly bursting into music and haunting the plot.


Co-written, co-executive produced, and starring Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts, Free Guy), World’s Best is a delightful watch for families and viewers of all ages. A fun collection of storytelling elements from She’s All That (1999), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), and Clueless (1995), WB proves to be an original adventure by resonating with audiences.

Even with Prem regaining the likes of his friends and rejoining the mathematics squad, we still feel for the young genius as he gives up his father’s dream and pursues his own. It’s not even a “happily ever after” for our main character, but that’s okay.

On top of that, his mathematics squad doesn’t even win! Again, Disney is throwing a wrench in preconceived notions of “child-like” storytelling.

That’s why this is an original movie, something Disney+ needs for the long run.

In short, World’s Best is a delightful and cute watch that surprises the viewer along the way. Bravo to the cast and crew behind the all-new motion picture.

More about World’s Best

The official synopsis reads:

While navigating the tumultuous hardships of adolescence, 12-year-old mathematics genius Prem Patel discovers his recently deceased father was a famous rapper and immediately sets out to pursue a career for himself as a rap superstar. While his recent actions may appear reckless and the quickest way for him to lose everything, Prem, empowered by imaginative hip-hop music-fueled fantasies where he performs with his father, is determined to find out if hip-hop truly is in his DNA. As his father always used to say, “the world’s best never rest.”  

Directed by Roshan Sethi, the movie stars Manny Magnus, Punam Patel, Jake Choi, Max Malas, Piper Wallace, Kayla Njeri, Dorian Giordano, Kathryn Greenwood, Christopher Jackson, and Doug E. Fresh

World’s Best, an Old 320 Sycamore Production, is directed by Roshan Sethi and stars Utkarsh Ambudkar, Manny Magnus, Punam Patel, Jake Choi, Max Malas, Piper Wallace, Kayla Njeri, Dorian Giordano, Christopher Jackson, and Doug E. Fresh. Written by Jamie King & Utkarsh Ambudkar, the original film is produced by Thomas Kail and Kate Sullivan, with Terry Gould and Utkarsh Ambudkar serving as executive producers.

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