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Recommended age 8-18
98 minutes
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Wish Dragon is an animated film sure to entertain family audiences. This new movie, similar to Soul, has a unique plot with plenty of fantastical ideas. A combination of wonderful acting, animation and plot makes for a delightful movie.

Wish Dragon follows Din (Jimmy Wong) as he struggles to find his long-lost childhood best friend, Li Na (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). A green teapot then shows itself, and Din soon realizes that it's not your average teapot - there's a dragon inside. The dragon, Long (John Chu), informs Din that he can make three wishes. With the challenge of finding his friend, avoiding the goons that are trying to steal the teapot and keeping the secret of the wish dragon from the rest of his friends and family, Din's quiet life soon becomes a flurry of activity and excitement.

The film has some of the best animation I've ever seen. Characters, objects, settings and beings are flawless, aside from when they need to be flawed. Colorful, detailed animation creates a vivid world that's full of life. Everything seems to pop off the screen and I feel as though I've been transported into this world. Along with the animation, the stunning performances by the actors add so much to the film. The voiceovers match the characters and the animated expressions change with the actors' tones. John Cho, voicing Long (the wish dragon), is one of the performances that seems effortless. The dragon's superb appearance mixes nicely with the deeper voice of the actor. Natasha Liu Bordizzo, as Li Na, and Jimmy Wong, as Din, also deliver excellent performances - the voice acting is true to the animation. These two high points are enhanced by its strong plot. In fact, the storyline of Wish Dragon is detailed, relatable and perfect for a family movie. Unique ideas, as well as thoughtful messages and themes, are all here. The characters are strong, enhanced with interesting backstories about their noteworthy pasts. Events throughout the film are well-timed and make sense. There aren't any scenes that seem forced in order to keep the plot going. It all flows well. The only shortcoming that I found is that it is a bit predictable at times. Some of the primary plot points, such as the three wishes and epic battles against the bad guys, are a bit repetitive and predictable. However, it's nothing a little popcorn can't help.

The message of Wish Dragon is to understand the importance of relationships and don't be greedy. The film does a noteworthy job of making the messages noticeable without being completely obvious. There are some action scenes, but they are definitely appropriate for kids.

I give Wish Dragon 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 plus adults. Wish Dragon is currently available Wish Dragon is a very heart-warming, action-packed and magical film. It is a combination of a love story between best friends, an adventure of trying to keep a childhood promise and a father who wants to give his daughter everything in the world. The story is very relatable and humorous.

Wish Dragon is about Din (Jimmy Wong), a determined teen who wants to reconnect with his childhood best friend, Li Na Wong (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), who moved away when they were kids. Din never forgot about her and always feels like something is missing from his life. During one of his food deliveries, he receives a magical tea pot that houses a wish-granting dragon, Long (John Cho). Long offers Din three wishes which sets in motion an adventure to get his friend back.

The lead characters in this film are Din, Li Na, Long and Li Na's dad, Mr. Wong (Will Yun Lee). My favorite character is Long, because not only is he hilarious, but I enjoyed watching his character's journey to find out what life is really about. The animation of the busy city, houses, billboards and people are vibrant, accurate and makes you feel like you are on an adventure in China with Din, Li Na and Long. There are plenty of comedic parts in this film, such as when everyone is watching television and Long is eating his newly discovered shrimp chips and, because he is invisible to everyone except Din, you only see the shrimp chip in the air being eaten.

The message of this film is that there is more to life than just fame and fortune. Friends and family and having people that genuinely care about you are what is most important. The main reason Mr. Wong moves away with Li Na is because he wants her to be able to have everything in the world, but he didn't realize that by doing that she will never make any real friends and never experience the true meaning of life.

Wish Dragon is a very meaningful, entertaining family film. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can find Wish Dragon streaming on Netflix now.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10 for streaming on Netflix starting June 11, 2021.

By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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Determined teen Din is longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.
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