Movie Review – Wish Dragon (2021)


Wish Dragon, 2021.

Directed by Chris Applehans.
Featuring Jimmy Wong, Constance Wu, John Cho, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Will Yun Lee, Bobby Lee and Jimmy O. Yang.



The determined teenager Din longs to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a hopeful dragon who shows him the magic of opportunity.


It is impossible not to think Aladdin looking Wish Dragon. Memories are also not held of a respectable tribute, but rather literally by taking the story out of Arabia and placing it in today’s China. There’s a lower class boy, a rich woman and a spirit, sorry, I mean a dragon who can meet three desires. In case copying and pasting didn’t find you hard enough, John Cho expresses a dragon with his personality and animation clearly modeled from Robin Williams ’epic Genie performance, but as you might expect, it’s nowhere near appropriate for that unprecedented energy. Even the character design of the dragon is made so that people can use him as a magical rug, for example.

At the same time, I also understand that there is nothing wrong with formulating a classic story for another culture and population. Questions Wish Dragon not just from the controversial plagiarism, but the more confusing question that if Sony Animation wants to tell a Chinese version of this story, why not follow the Chinese talent to direct the film instead of hiring Chris Appelhans director to make his debut here after working in the art department as well as animation films . In his defense, Xiaocao Liu was hired as an assistant to the script (including Chris Applehans). Yet there is nothing in the film that speaks of authenticity or more subtle details. It’s a pretty American interpretation of China through the lens of the story Arabian nights, which leads to an animated storytelling on the assembly line that doesn’t necessarily do anything different, i.e. everyone who is left thinks Aladdin For 99 minutes.


Anyway, when you try to push Aladdin out of the brain it is also clear that the story wants to be a new shot, which makes what is here much more frustrating. Wish Dragon it is not about a street person who wants to marry a princess. Here, the characters are already connected, as seen in the initial prologue, which states that Din (Jimmy Wong) and Li Na (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) became friends at the age of ten. There is a relatively efficient montage that shows them engaging flying kites while they also grow. Unfortunately, after a few years, Li Na moves with his father to the other side of China, although Din never loses hope that he will see him again, that he will never forget him and that they will always remain friends.

Flashing forward to this day, Din blows college courses (but still gets a job at home) to work as a food delivery server, still dreaming of the day he and Li Na are on the trails again. Nor is it so easy to get out of his mind, given that he has continued as a successful fashion model that has spread around a luminescent billboard around the city. In other words, they have not only grown apart from geographical distance, but also from social status.


Somehow (I’m not yet clear on how it really works), Din calls the teapot of the nominal Wish Dragon, decorated with traditional images. You’ve probably seen Aladdin and know how this works; the teapot holder gets three wishes of his choice, albeit limited to forcing other people to do things like fall in love. Either way, it’s not important as one of the few interesting things Wish Dragon is that Din is not focused on romantic affection; he wants his friend back. There is also a chance that you know exactly what Din is going to do to get him to Li Na’s luxurious birthday party.

Din, of course, gets enemies by getting a magical teapot that is chased and attacked by ordinary Wolverines (often a long and narrow fighter, short and rough nonsense, and others). As a result, Din panics and wants fighting ability, turning him into a Spider-Man as well, but without a suit. When it’s not going on, he either tries to convince his mother (Constance Wu) that his life is under control and that he’s not crazy about drugs, or annoys Long Dragon with unusual hopes that have nothing to do with lasting riches and empires, something that the cynical reptile is accustomed to giving its service through a thousand different masters so far. It looks like Long has also been locked out for a while now, so there’s plenty of fish with no humor, especially in a taxi order that offers a few laughs.


In addition to, Wish Dragon is mostly a low energy price that remains a comedy and a particularly short drama, given that a two-thirds Aladdin eventually. In the long run, there is some background information that gives the character a little more depth and some nuances for both Din and Li Na’s parents, equated with dramatically different paths toward offering the things they think their children need to be happy and prosperous. Unfortunately, it doesn’t find chemistry and a magnetic spark between the two reunited friends where the film needed to dig its own path the most. The soft quality of the animation isn’t favored (the colors are strangely muted, and they never look as vivid as they should), but once again, it could have been won if the story wasn’t so willing to rip the classic and hit it in Shanghai, playing it a day.

Flickering myth rating – Movie: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also a reporter for flickering myth reviews. Check here For new reviews, follow mine Twitter or Letterboxdor send an email to

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