Parents' Guide to

Wish Dragon

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

China-set animated comedy has great messages, some scares.

Movie PG 2021 101 minutes
Wish Dragon Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 4+

Cute Family Night Movie

Christian mom here. Our kids, ages 4, 6, and 9, really like this movie. There are a couple of mild fighting scenes (other raters compared it to “Kung Fu Panda” type fighting, which is pretty accurate) and a couple of strange encounters with “a god” (not God). We used those scenes for teaching opportunities in our house, but our kids know the movie isn’t real or realistic. The message of friends and family being more important than worldly possessions is great. And frankly, I LOVE the wish dragon character. He’s hilarious. Sort of “Aladdin” like, but totally lovable. We will watch it again soon I’m sure.
age 8+

Did everyone else miss the heaven scene?

There are lots of fighting scenes like mentioned in other reviews, but I haven't seen any comments about the heaven scenes, or how the character who is "a god" is portrayed. When one of the characters gets to heaven, he refuses to stay, and won't enter. He argues with the "god" character who is trying to persuade the man to enter heaven. When he gets back to earth the character makes comments about how heaven doesn't have certain flavours of chips or air conditioning, so it was better to not stay there. The character who refers to himself as "a god" and stands at the entry to heaven is shown in 2 different scenes on earth wearing only underwear. We ended up fast forwarding part of the heaven scenes, and wouldn't recommend this.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (22 ):

Charming characters, attractive settings, and universal messages balance a familiar storyline inspired by the same Chinese fable as Aladdin in this enjoyable animated film. Wish Dragon is propelled by the sweet relationship between its two main characters -- kind, generous 19-year-old college student Din, who has his whole life ahead of him, and cynical, sarcastic Long, who has already lived thousands of years. The film's illustrated Shanghai setting provides a lot to look at. Characteristic "shikumen" dwellings are overshadowed by a city shown growing up across the river as if in a time-lapse video. As Din flies around on Long's back, they weave through towers and clouds, soaring high above stalled traffic and interlaced bridges. An emotional sequence where the normally humorous Long recalls his sad life on earth is sketched in translucent outlines.

That scene, and a climax involving several deadly fights for the teapot and control of the magic dragon, are a bit darker than the rest of this fun, light, and positive story. Some viewers might have wished for a little less action, though the film's makers suggest some of the kung fu fight scenes were made in tribute to producer Jackie Chan. There's humor sketched into the art, like when Din is kicked out of a fancy clothing store called "Nomani" and goes to another called "Nomoney." The action has similar fun asides, like when Din falls from a rooftop and lands on a toilet, then kindly stops to put the seat down before moving on, or the goofy way one of the henchmen never takes his hands out of his pockets and does everything with his legs and feet. A running joke involves Long discovering modern-day contraptions like a cell phone, airplanes, TV sets, traffic, and delicious but shrimp-free shrimp chips. These are all part of the charm, and the blending of tradition and modernity, in Wish Dragon.

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