Wish Dragon: Plot Overview
‘Wish Dragon’ is a reimagining of the classic Aladdin story, which is actually based on a Chinese folk tale. This movie takes us to modern-day Shanghai, where Din meets a wish dragon. The dragon ‘Long’ grants him three wishes. The story of a genie in a bottle is something that’s been done plenty of times before, most notably Aladdin.
Quite a predictable plot
At the beginning of the film, a young Din and his friend Li Na are introduced and right away, the viewers could tell that they are best friends. Li Na eventually moves away and becomes really popular. Din is a hard-working teenager and discovers a magic teacup. A wishing dragon comes out of it. And Din gets three wishes. Similar to other stories, you can’t wish for love, and you can’t wish to hurt people (i.e. kind of average wishes). The plot is easily predictable and is sensed from miles away. But that does not mean that it can’t be fun.
Not your average Aladdin
I absolutely loved this story because it did not go the usual route of a boy trying to make the girl fall in love with him. Din did not want to impress Li Na to fall in love with him (like in Aladdin). Instead, he just wanted to reconnect with his friend.
I absolutely adored that story-line because it felt different from the other retellings I’ve seen before. Yes, he wanted to impress her, and yes, he was afraid to tell her who he was (because he was afraid that she would be upset with the kind of person he is), but they came to an understanding. I just loved that approach to this movie because it gave it a realistic tone and something we haven’t seen before. So many of these animated films always have to center around love, and they always have to end up together (Why can’t the protagonists just be friends?).
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This is a very vibrant looking film. It is heavy on the pink color because of the dragon. The movie is called ‘Wish Dragon’ and not ‘Aladdin’. It is the genie’s story. And the production team put in a lot of effort into making the character of ‘Long’, the wish dragon. A lot of his features were inspired by the classic Chinese dragon. I love the look of the dragon here. It provides enough vibrance to the film’s scene and makes it pop.
This is by Sony animation. We’ve seen different kinds of movies from them like ‘The Mitchells Versus The Machine’ and ‘Spider-Man’. Those movies have a distinct look.
Inspiration from China
The details of the culture and the family are very intricate. Din’s neighborhood is very vibrant and lush. The neighborhood is a tribute to Shikumen neighbourhoods, which are the historical parts of Shanghai. They were a reflection of China, which is modernizing. So many people from the production team are from these places. And these authentic little easter eggs would be missing if such a diverse team was not present behind the curtains.
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Long, the wish fulfilling dragon
‘Long’ is like this fish out of the water as he enjoys human life. He tries different snacks, watches television, eats food and just experiences life as a dragon. Although everybody else can’t see the dragon, we see snacks floating around; it’s dragon eating. Watching Long interact with Din and trying to live a human life was pretty entertaining. Their relationship developed throughout the film. Eventually, it does become a little bit predictable, and you understand where their relationship will go. But I love the connection between the two, very strong, much like Aladdin and the genie.
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Subplot brings the fast pace to the movie
There’s also a separate side story surrounding some people that want this cup. So they can capture the wish-fulfilling dragon (much like Jafar). I really thought those moments added some much needed thrilling sequences. They are chasing Din, Long and Li Na in the city throughout the movie trying to get that cup. It does provide that really upbeat animation and that faster pace in the middle half of the movie.
Fresh Take on the Premise:
Because of its very mainstream presentation, it sets your expectations to very average levels. It is because the plot seems predictable. However, nothing is original. Also, most of the time, audiences don’t even need originality. The only thing you have to do to make something feel fresh is to take a very familiar premise and divert it from standard expectations just enough. And any common premise can work if the animation, characters and dialogue are interestingly implemented. And ‘Wish Dragon’ is that philosophy optimized.
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Where does Wish Dragon rank in Sony Animation’s Films
Sony animated films are either hit or miss. This one is definitely a hit. ‘Wish Dragon’ is better than ‘Emoji’ movie and ‘Surfs Up’. It’s higher up than some of them. While it is not innovative like ‘Spiderman’, the animation works out well. I really did enjoy this film. Sony animated films are going to have four movies this year. We just had’ The Mitchells Versus The Machines’; now we have ‘Wish dragon’. Later we are going to have ‘Hotel Transylvania 4’. So in the span of a couple of months, we’re gonna have four Sony animated films. So they’re really knocking it out of the park.
The feature film conveys a good message about living and life that is more relatable than past cartoon movies, including Aladdin. I wouldn’t go so far and say it has no flaws or problems since there really is no cartoon movie that doesn’t have any. This is a perfect mainstream animated film with all the predictable attributes. Animation design is good, but nothing terribly innovative. It just looks like a very standard studio movie. Aside from the modernization of this story setting, incorporating modern discussions of class and money is excellent. But in the end, it’s a harmless movie, and just enjoy it as you watch.
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