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  • Entertainment - Movie Reviews
  • Updated: March 24, 2022

‘Wish Dragon’ Review: A Riveting Masterpiece With A Powerful Message

Netflix’s latest animated film is a moving story that tackles some of life’s most important lessons.

Bolstered by colourful animation, a superb vocal cast, and one stupendous dragon, Wish Dragon is guaranteed to touch hearts in more ways than one.

Directed by Chris Appelhans and animated by Sony Pictures Animation, it stars Jimmy Wong as Din Song, a teenager whose life is altered when he becomes the owner of a magic teacup that houses a magical dragon with the power to grant three wishes.

If there is one thing Din wants, it’s to be reunited with his childhood friend, Li (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). But they have been separated for years and the societal gap between them couldn’t be any wider.

Eager to make an impression, Din makes his first wish and becomes a wealthy prince to gain access to Li’s birthday party. But he will soon find out that deception can only last for so long.

Unknown to Din, another individual seeks the teacup to gain control of the mystical dragon Long (voiced by John Cho). He will stop at nothing to achieve the power he craves.

As for the dragon himself, he has his own motives; he just wants to be done serving Din so he can be rid of the nuisance who so happens to be his master. But as adversity comes, his bond with the boy grows and he learns that sometimes, the most important lessons come from the most unlikely sources.

For those assuming that this is just another Aladdin remake, you’re so wrong. I had that erroneous impression too and so decided to skip watching the film altogether. It wasn’t until a prominent Nigerian filmmaker posted about it that I decided it was worth seeing.

After watching this powerful film, I can boldly say that it touched me in a way few animated movies have. 

Wish Dragon is an instant classic; one of the best animated films ever made in my opinion. The themes here and the way that they are explored just left me dazed and amazed.

One of the things I look out for in any animated film (besides the plot, visuals, special effects, and all that) is character designs. I tend to be put off by anything other than doesn’t appeal to me visually.

I wasn’t at all impressed with the character designs here but as the story unfolded, that was the last thing on my mind as I was held spellbound by something enchanting, magical and so full of heart.

We live in a society where people feel like outsiders because they lack some of the basic necessities of life. In a bid to belong, they end up making the wrong choices, forgetting that what should matter most are the very things they take for granted.

The message in Wish Dragon is both timely and timeless, one everybody needs to see. Life is fleeting, so we shouldn’t joke with the friendships we make and the bonds we forge.

As is expected, there is enough humour to make the viewer laugh himself or himself to tears. I giggled with childish ecstasy as a result of the many laugh-out-loud moments. Movies like these are the reason I watch animations. 

This wonderful film would not be complete without the exceptional vocal performances, so I salute the actors for a job well done.

As the eponymous power-wielding reptilian, John Cho is simply mesmerizing. This is a dragon with his faults, his aspirations, and motives. I think these more than anything else differentiate this tale from Disney’s Aladdin stories.

Some viewers might be moved to tears because that is how touching the third act is.

Conclusively, I will echo the words of that Nigerian director whose positive words about this film made me see it; thank you so much Sony Pictures Animation. You have created something that transcends a unique cinematic experience. Please, we need more animated films like this. Two thumbs way up!

Rating: 8/10.

 

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Sydney Elike
Sydney Elike

A graduate of Theatre Arts, Writer, Movie Buff, Avid Reader, and Video Game Enthusiast. 

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