'Wish Dragon' Overview: Shanghai-Set Netflix Movie Makes Attitude What It Lacks in Originality

Another Sony name in Netflix's ever-expanding cartoon portfolio, this modern China-based dream boasts a charming riff on'Aladdin.'

'Wish Dragon' Overview: Shanghai-Set Netflix Movie Makes Attitude What It Lacks in Originality

Creating his spirited feature introduction, dream-big animation manager Chris Appelhans pretty much assumes you are going to be considering Disney's gloomy genie if his humble Oriental protagonist rubs a jade teapot and generates a fluorescent flamingo-pink dragon, prepared to give his wildest fantasies -- or even three of these . He does not care, since"Wish Dragon" provides a completely different world, a new fantastic perspective, and that is plenty.

Technically, China's ancient dream dragon legend uttered even"Arabian Nights," a detail which provides Appelhans permit to upgrade the folk story for the contemporary world, while stripping it of many of the exhausted clichés that currently have the land in any wish-granting fable -- such as the wet-blanket"be careful what you wish for" trope, where an unfortunate so's poorly worded request necessarily forgettable, instructing that individual that he was better off with no whatever lust magical could have rustled up in him.

The protagonist of"Wish Dragon" does not have large aspirations. Shanghai-based Din (Jimmy Wong) could be dirt poor and distressed, but he is remarkably well-grounded as such personalities move. After provided three wishes, he frankly does not know what to ask whereas Long, his dutiful, all-powerful dragon (voiced by John Cho), is filled with hints: Why not desire for heaps of gold? Or his personal military? After all, each one of Long's past masters desired power and wealth. But maybe not Din. He simply wants his very best friend back.

They pinky-swear into being pals eternally, then the prologue turns depression, as Li Na's dad moves off and the friends are split. Flash ahead a couple of decades, and Din still can not get her out of his head and who can blame himnow that Li Na's a thriving model whose face pops up on billboards around town (including among the roofing of the hovel in which Din still resides with his pragmatic Mother, voiced by Constance Wu).

When poof, the magical dragon shows up excited to function, Din does not covet power or money per se -- but both might help him finagle his way into Li Na's birthday celebration, because she is currently wealthy enough to stand out of his league. On Long's surprise, Din wants for temporary riches and power (but only enough dough to make it through the doorway ), expecting that they will have the ability to pick up where they left off whenever they could simply be emptied.

Ergo, we would expect him to be a bit greedier in compensating for everybody that he lacks. However, that is not so difficult to accept, because Appelhans' aesthetic -- the rapid, clever animation design (a zippy pose-to-pose method that mirrors classic martial-arts films ) and all around openness to Chinese civilization, new and old -- proves so amusing unto itself. And it is great fun to see Long flex and fold right angles. (Chinese audiences gain from manufacturer Jackie Chan providing his voice to the Mandarin-language edition.)

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