Produced by Jackie Chan, ‘Wish Dragon‘ is written and directed by Chris Appelhans. It was made by Sony Pictures Animation, Beijing Sparkle Roll Media Corporation, and released onto Netflix.
Din Song (Jimmy Wong) is a young blue-collar worker in Shanghai, China who longs to see his childhood friend Li Na Wang (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) who moved away after her father’s, Mr. Wang (Will Yun Lee), business took off. Despite his mother Mrs. Song (Constance Wu) insistence that he focuses on school, Din desires to see Li Na. Din is given a jade teapot which summons Long (John Cho), a dragon who can grant three wishes. He decides to use them to get to a party to visit her in her mansion. Unfortunately, three thugs Pockets (Aaron Yoo), Shorty (Jimmy O. Yang), and Diao (Bobby Lee) are after the dragon as well.
The animation is sleek, impressive, and highly imaginative. The way they designed Long and illustrated his movements was one of the best parts of the movie. As he flew, climbed, or walked across the screen, you were impressed. While the other illustrations were grand as well, his dragon designs were what stood out.
The voice acting is truly spot on. Jimmy Wong, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, and John Cho in particular were excellent in their roles. I am disappointed that Jackie Chan did not perform for the American version. They could have casted him to at least have a small role.
As for the story, it definitely rifts off Disney’s Aladdin, though its setting is in modern Shanghai. It ignores the regime and focuses on the people of China. Considering this is a kid’s film, I do not think that was a bad idea. It relied on its charm and quirky sense of humor, so ultimately, it paid off.
Din is a genuinely nice young man who you root for and hope that he can succeed in his goal of reuniting with his friend. I do wish they had given adult Li Na a bit more time. She just kind of appears in the second act and you find her character enduring, but it would have been nice to have a bit more.
Bottom line, Wish Dragon is a charming and quirky movie that I think families will enjoy for the delightful characters and sense of adventure.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Magical violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: I know what you are thinking: could this be real? Is magic real?
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Secret Magic Control Agency and Arlo the Alligator Boy. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.