If you were given three wishes from a wish-granting dragon, what would you wish for? Know that there are of course some stipulations; can't force someone to fall in love with you and you can't raise anyone from the dead. Sound familiar? Wish Dragon, Netflix's new family movie premieres on Friday, June 11th and while it will remind audiences of a different (and blue) wish-granting friend, Wish Dragon certainly stands on its own as being a very entraining family film that shows the true meaning of friendship.
Disclaimer: I was granted early access to view Wish Dragon for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Wish Dragon | A No-Spoilers, Parent Review
Wish Dragon | Movie Synopsis
In Sony Pictures Animation’s Wish Dragon, Din, a working-class college student with big dreams but small means, and Long, a cynical but all-powerful dragon capable of granting wishes, set off on a hilarious adventure through modern day Shanghai in pursuit of Din's long-lost childhood friend, Lina.
Their journey forces them to answer some of life's biggest questions – because when you can wish for anything, you have to decide what really matters.
Related: The Mitchells Vs. The Machines | No-Spoilers, Parent Review
Wish Dragon | Voice Cast
Wish Dragon | Review
The film follows Din, a college student who hopes to reconnect with an old friend, who has become somewhat famous since she moved out of Din's neighborhood years ago.
By chance (or by fate) he is given a tea pot that contains a wish dragon!
Here is where audiences will start to see parallels to Aladdin (which happens to also be based on the same Chinese fable as Wish Dragon).
Related: Spirit Untamed | No-Spoilers, Parent Review
The plot lines of Aladdin and Wish Dragon are similar when it comes to the fundamentals; boy longs for girl, boy wishes for the appearance of riches to be able to impress said girl, boy befriends wish granting character and both learn important lessons from each other.
Wish Dragon is in modern times so there are modern references and refreshingly, the plot of Din wanting to reconnect with Lina did not revolve around romantic love but rather, friendship.
Wish Dragon also offers a few twists that will certainly keep audiences engaged.
There are quite a few fight scenes in Wish Dragon.
We see a lot of hand to hand combat between Din and some bad guys that follow him throughout the film.
These scenes are animated brilliantly and are not gory by any means but doors are smashed, buildings fall, and many, many punches are thrown.
The PG Rating
Wish Dragon is rated PG for "mild action and rude humor".
I'm a little surprised the PG rating doesn't mention "brief, mild language" as the word "crap" is uttered in the film along with "dirtbags". I also heard "stupid" said a number of times.
I did appreciate the use of "son of a cabbage farmer" as a replacement for a more vulgar phrase though.
Related: Tom & Jerry: The Movie | No-Spoilers, Parent Review
In regards to rude humor there is a scene where it is made to look like someone is projectile vomiting, and there is another scene where Long unknowingly drinks out of a toilet and then unfortunately for him, immediately discovers what a toilet is by watching someone use it.
Another adult theme to be aware of in Wish Dragon is drinking. In one scene see one of our main characters drink copious amounts of alcohol.
My Final Thoughts
Wish Dragon is funny, the visuals are vibrant in color, the animation of the fight scenes is impressive and the script is very well written.
The film has a running time of a little over 90 minutes however Wish Dragon moves quickly. No one scene feels like filler and there wasn't an instance where I checked the clock to see how much longer we had to go.
This film has a lot of heart; we see it first in the friendship of Din and Lina as young children, then through Din and Long, who, though they are from very different worlds, they are able to establish a connection and even an understanding.
Wish Dragon has laugh out loud moments and John Cho is brilliant as Long! He's sarcastic, he's frank, and he's so new to the modern world it sets him up for some hilarious moments - like when Long learns about city traffic.
To put it simply, I really liked Wish Dragon and now all I want is a Wish Dragon 2.
Age Recommendation for Wish Dragon: 6+
I struggled with this age recommendation because my children are younger than 6 and we viewed this film as a family and they both loved it. As soon as it was over they both ran around the house stating that they were a wish dragon!
However, I think there's just enough "bad" language and rude/bathroom humor jokes and references that this film isn't really OK for younger children.
That being said (I told you I really struggled here), if your child is younger than 6 and has watched Shrek (similar in language & rude humor) and The Incredibles 2 (similar in action, though not the same fighting style) then Wish Dragon will be fine for them.
Wish Dragon is available on Netflix beginning June 11th.