August 3, 2021

The importance of our origin

The criticisms of David Pérez “Davicine”:
The dragon of wishes

The movie The dragon of wishes is an animated adventure produced by Jackie Chan in which Din is a teenager who longs to see his childhood best friend, Lina again. Long, a wish-granting dragon, will show you the magic of possibilities. Written and directed by Chris Appelhans, has the original version with the voices of Jimmy Wong, John Cho, Constance Wu, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Will Yun Lee, Bobby Lee, Jimmy O. Yang e Ian Chen. The film opens on June 11, 2021 on the platform Netflix.

Friends forever?

Following in the wake of previous productions, Netflix acquired the distribution rights to this animated film from Sony Pictures Animation, a film backed by an emotional story for the whole family about the value of friendship and origins as well as captivating characters thanks to the involvement of its director, Chris Appelhans, who was an illustrator for and worked in the art department of productions such as The worlds of Coraline, Tiana and the frog Y The origin of the guardians, among other

The story of The dragon of wishes It is very simple, and it surely sounds too much like the Aladdin story that we all know. A boy sees how his best friend is going to live a life full of luxuries and refinements far from the town where they grew up and lived a thousand adventures, and where they made a promise to never forget to always be friends. One day he finds a magic lamp, sorry, a magic kettle from which a Genie comes out … sorry again, a dragon comes out that grants him 3 wishes. Obviously, it’s hard not to see the film as a modern take on Aladdin, set this time in chaotic modern Shanghai, centered around friendship and origins, with the now-hackneyed message that riches don’t bring happiness.

Everything sounds familiar to the plot of Aladdin, but to the surprise of those who write these words it is only so at the base of the film, as there is a key difference between the two, and it is the dragon that gives the title to the animated production of Netflix. Not only for being different physically, given that the Genie we all remember from the movie of Disney It was blue and here we have a pink dragon who is not a genius, but because he is an unexpectedly complex character. During the film we see how he starts out as an irritating character, but little by little he becomes one of the most charming and surprising characters in the film with his own motivations, which creates a completely different relationship between Din and Long than we see between Aladdin and the Genie. If we just give the movie a chance and stick with its first installment, we’ll miss out on how this story unfolds.

Another surprising thing about The dragon of wishes It’s how his story turns the classic “boy wants girl” story because, against all odds, Din admits that he doesn’t want Lina to fall in love with him, he just wants her again as his best friend, something he no longer knows. See in these kinds of stories, or at least in these times, and give the movie another fresh touch as romance is not the ultimate goal of wishes like it was in Aladdin.

The background social conflict

Crossing the rooftops and alleys of the Shanghai suburbs, the adventure of The dragon of wishes It takes place over ten years of economic growth and social conflict in the China we know. The teapot dragon represents the age-old wisdom of the ancient local culture, and it becomes a quick way for Din to climb the social ladder, something he has not achieved thanks to his studies.

Clearly there is a lot of Aladdin, but we also have a touch of Peter Pan as Din seems to ignore that, when one grows up, one must inevitably adapt to the social environment. The magic of the dragon is only the push that this teenager needed to re-believe in himself and discover life as it is, both at a family level and at a social level, and learn the importance of effort and being supported by those who love you. They surround, even if difficult, struggles against social injustices.

The moral parable at the center of the plot as well as the predictable triumph of feelings over class differences are introduced in this China in which modernity coexists in disorder with tradition, and in which social classes are farther apart than never. Despite being a film for a young audience, we appreciate that they introduce all these values ​​that will surely penetrate the little ones.

A very Asian film without being it at all

At a visual level, The dragon of wishes It is where it stands out, with a striking character design and a fluid and detailed animation, but that section is also reinforced when exploring Asian culture. Taking place in China, even as an animated film, the aesthetics of the country is perfectly captured thanks to the architecture, the food and the clothes, and even in the few but fast-paced action scenes in which we see hand-to-hand fights, noticing the elongated Shadow of Jackie Chan behind the project.

In the original version, it is appreciated that, although neither the writer nor the director are Asian, and none of the characters speak Mandarin, at least the entire cast of voices is Asian and that helps to amplify the feeling of watching a Chinese production. In fact, it is not so much a film about Asian culture made for Asian people, but rather a film about Asian culture made for everyone, bringing the Far East to our screens with an animated film full of light and emotion.

The dragon of wishes It does not bring us anything new to our screens, nor is it a new story that it tells, but it clearly amuses us with its fight scenes and excites us in the part of family and love dramas, leaving the occasional message to the change that China has undergone. in recent years, especially in the growing gap between social classes.


What do you think of the movie?

The dragon of wishes