But does that make this garbage? Well, it certainly ain't good, but it didn't do enough to make me cringe, so that's a blessing in itself.
The film is about an amatuer poor boy named Din, who lives in modern day Shanghai in the poor homes. After coming across a magic teapot that contains a wish dragon, he and the dragon are on a personal mission to fulfill their destinies and the boy to win the heart of the girl. When people look at this story, many suspect that this is a ripoff of Aladdin, as it does have a similar plot structure to that story. However, since the folk tale is speculated to have originated from China, this could be considered as an Aladdin adaptation more than a copycat. But does that mean calling it a ripoff is inaccurate? NO. In fact, this film copies SEVERAL plot elements from the original source material shamelessly. Think about it. The guy with a crush on the rich girl. He finds a guardians who can grant him three wishes. There's also villains who want control of the teapot that try to kill the boy to get it. The girl has feelings for the boy before discovering he was lying about his identity. And more. Before you ask, no. I did NOT come into this movie trying to search for these similarities. I tried as HARD as I could to look at this as its own thing instead of a copycat of someone else. But these similarities are so noticeable that it's just MIND-BLOWING how an executive would think that this script was passable! Anyhow, there are good things this story did that make it work. For one, it does have some solid pacing, moving quickly to make sure it can effectively get out as much as possible in such a short running time, on top of also having some surprisingly effective action scenes in order to help elevate the intensity. Also, the heart is in the right place, especially when Din (Aladdin) wants to get together with Li Na (Jasmine) in order to reconnect with his childhood friend after years apart. So there is a touching side to things despite the lack of originality.
In general, I'll admit that what Sony did with the animation is pretty good. It's kind of like what Sony is known for doing mixed with a hint of a Dreamworks style, but it does look good and does use rubberhose effectively for playful moments. On top of that, I'll give credit to the scenes with Long that do look very nice, playing a lot with colors and giving full life onto the effects and his moments whenever they would occur. It's kind of like what they did with Soul but otherwise with a more pink color nature instead of a turquoise-blue mix. Nonetheless, even if it does have generic backgrounds and the style can feel more like it's taken off of Aladdin, but the animation still does a good job on its own.
Another credit I'll give this movie is the voice acting. At least for the most part. In general, most of them did fine like Jimmy Wong, Will Yun Lee, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Aaron Yoo, and John Cho. They do try their best with the materials they were given and it is nice that the film does have an all asian voice cast. Despite this, the others are clearly problematic. Some I guess are trying but are also having problems with the microphone quality, and others clearly needed TRAINING to be better. That and there's also Constanance Wu who I guess is not used to being in a recording studio.
Conclusion? Story that copies from Aladdin + terrible comedy + very nice animation + meh voice acting + China + a teapot + Sony Pictures Animation + Netflix = Wish Dragon.
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