The “Wish Dragon” is fully aware that “Aladdin” was the first to arrive. When his lowly Hong Kong hero touches a jade teapot and generates a bright flamingo-pink dragon, ready to fulfil his greatest desires — or three of them at the very least — dream-big animation director Chris Appelhans very much thinks you’ll be thinking of Disney’s blue genie. What’s more, you know what? He doesn’t mind since “Wish Dragon” introduces him to a whole new universe and a fresh spectacular point of view, and that’s enough for him. Technically, China’s old wish dragon mythology predates even “Arabian Nights,” a fact that allows Appelhans to modernize the traditional story while removing so many of its elements.
The protagonist of “Wish Dragon” does not have lofty goals. Din (Jimmy Wong) may be impoverished and desperate, yet he’s one of the most real characters in the genre. When he’s given three wishes, he’s stumped — but Long, his obedient, all-powerful dragon (voiced by John Cho), has plenty of ideas: Why not wish for a mountain of gold? Or does he have his own personal army? After all, Long’s former rulers all desired riches and power. Din, however, is an exception. He only wants to see his closest friend again. We witness little Din and his neighbor Li Na bonding over all things dragons in the film’s cheery start. They pinky-swear to be friends for life, and then the prologue becomes depressing as Li Na’s father moves. IMDB