WISH DRAGON (2021) It is the second Sony Pictures Animation film to premiere on Netflix


The Mitchells vs. the Machine (Mike Rianda, 2021), Wish Dragon is an animated film that has a storyline that may remind viewers of Walt Disney Pictures’ animated classic, Aladdin (John Musker, Ron Clements, 1992). The film tells the story of Din Song ( Jimmy Wong ), a young man from the middle class who dreams of meeting his childhood friend, Li Na Wang ( Natasha Liu Bordizzo ), who because of his father’s success, Mr. Wang ( Will Yun Lee), now lives as a rich and wealthy family. One day, Din Song gets a pot of tea from an old man ( Ronny Chieng ) who claims that he is a god. At first, Din Song ignored the pot of tea he received. However, when a dragon named Long ( John Cho ) emerges from the teapot and is willing to grant his three wishes, Din Song immediately knows what he wants to achieve.

It was the directing debut for Chris Appelhans – who had previously been involved in the production process for animated films such as Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009), Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009), The Princess and the Frog (Musker, Clements, 2009), to Puss in Boots (Chris Miller, 2011), and The Angry Birds Movie (Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly, 2016), Wish Dragonit does not offer a storyline that feels completely new. Even so, like a dish of fried rice with a familiar taste but very popular, Appelhans was able to mix up his story script for this film to produce a story that is so fun to follow. The theme of friendship and the relationship between children and their parents is presented in an easy-to-digest narrative. The comedy dressing applied by Appelhans – especially in the lines of dialogue posed by Long’s character – also produces added value when the dialogues are able to be executed perfectly by Cho.

As an animated film that utilizes the background of a storytelling located in the territory of the People’s Republic of China, Wish Dragonalso appeared not to disappoint in utilizing colorful visual displays to depict the culture as well as the urban and suburban areas of the country’s capital city of Beijing. Animations showing various skyscrapers that adorn the city, or rows of traffic jams, or rows of densely packed houses, until the image of Long’s character who is presented as a pink dragon is presented so beautifully. Appelhans is also able to maintain the rhythm of the storytelling of this film with a fast storytelling but far from feeling rushed. Every moment that Din Song’s character has to face along with Long’s character appears to give a warm impression thanks to the focus that continues to run with the two characters side by side.

Simplicity of story and character management featured in Wish Dragonindeed makes this film so limited in providing depth to the story for each conflict that is present. In addition to the friendly relationship between Din Song’s character and Long’s character which slowly begins to develop since the beginning of the story, other stories in this film appear so modest. Not bad, but not capable of providing a stronger emotional touch. Luckily, Appelhans has a line of voice actors who are good at bringing each character they play to life. In addition to Cho who is clearly the main star of this film thanks to his ability to make Long’s character a cynical dragon figure but still funny, entertaining, and easy to like, Wong also managed to provide a vocal quality that compensates for Cho’s vocal performance. Chemistrythe one he produced with Cho was also convincing – the same thing he had managed to build with Bordizzo as well. Other voice actors in the film, including Aaron Yoo and Constance Wu , also provide vocal performances that further reinforce the film’s overall presentation quality.