Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Wish Dragon

Go To

Wish Dragon is a 2021 computer-animated fantasy comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation, with animation production done by Base FX.

Based on a genie-in-a-bottle story retelling by Chris Appelhans (who also directed the film). Din (Jimmy Wong), a working-class college student with big dreams but small means, and Long (John Cho), a cynical but all-powerful dragon capable of granting wishes, set off on a hilarious adventure through modern-day Shanghai so Din can reconnect with his now-famous, childhood friend, Li Na (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). Their journey forces them to answer some of life’s biggest questions – because when you can wish for anything, you have to decide what really matters.


  • Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Constance Wu has played the mother to Ian Chen.
  • Altar Diplomacy: In his backstory, Long tells Din that part of the reason he was cursed as a wish dragon is because he married off his daughter to another powerful lord in a bid to attain more wealth and power.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Din and Li Na's families start a modest restaurant together, and due to Long agreeing to serve 10 more masters in order to return to Earth and grant Din's final wish, we see his teapot added to the Pipa God's cart to be taken to his next master.
  • All Part of the Show: The heroes and villains fight in a parade while disguised as dancing dragons.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Neither Din's father nor Li Na's mother are ever mentioned.
  • Anti-Villain: Mr. Wang only wants the teapot to keep his business afloat and continue to provide for himself and Li Na. Before Pockets turns on him, he rebukes him for attempting to hurt Din.
  • Asians Eat Pets: The opening sequence features Din and Li Na crying over their dead pet, Clucky the chicken, whom they raised since Clucky was a chick. They then take a bite out of a pair of drumsticks, implying that Clucky was being raised for food. Later in the movie, Din says he has no regrets because of how delicious Clucky was, but Mr. Huang claims that Din still puts flowers on Clucky's grave every year.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Pockets fights solely using his feet. He doesn't even point with his hands.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Gold is a heavy but pliable metal. So when the solid gold Pockets hits the bridge, the statue would not have shattered into dozens of pieces as shown, but more likely disfigured by the impact and maybe torn in two.]]
  • The Atoner: Long was once a powerful and wealthy lord, but his greed and lust for power alienated him from his subjects and even his family. Because of his selfish actions, he was cursed to become a wish dragon and would need to serve ten masters to learn the true meaning of life before being allowed into Heaven.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Long is unable to enter Heaven until he completes ten cycles of servitude as a wish dragon.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • At one point, Long says "Be care what you don't wish for," after Din successfully goads him into flying to Li Na's house without specifically wishing for it. Long does get him there but the ride is incredibly chaotic and frantic.
    • Pockets wishes for his left hand to turn anything into gold. When falling he accidentally touches his chest turning himself into gold and shattering when he hits the ground.
  • Be Yourself: Din uses his second wish to act as a Mock Millionaire to meet his closest friend Li Na again after she became part of Shanghai's wealthy elite. But he gets lost in character trying to impress her and acts like a jerk due to his preconceptions of the wealthy, pushing her away in the process. They only reconnect once he comes clean and makes it clear that he's still the same guy and is living in the same neighborhood.
  • Big Honking Traffic Jam: On their way to Li Na's party, Long and Din end up in traffic. Din is able to use Long's impatience to goad him into flying the rest of the way.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Near the end, the nosy neighbors say this to one of their own when she jokingly comments that Din and Li Na are too young to be holding hands/pinkies.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Pockets and his goons, with the former being tall and thin, and the latter two being bulky and short. At least until the short goon wishes for longer legs.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Long saves Din from Pockets while at the same time earning redemption and entry to the spirit world. However, he is unable to grant the Din's final wish to save Li Na's father so he makes a deal to return to Earth and grant the final wish. This means he has to serve another ten masters, but he at least wants to impart wisdom instead of being insufferably cynical and looks forward to doing a better job, though it also ends with him parting ways with Din.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death: In the beginning montage Din and Li Na are seen with a pet chicken. They eventually are crying at its grave while eating chicken legs.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • While some of the companies seen in Shanghai are real brands, others are parodies, such as Gulchi (Gucci).
    • Din tries to buy a suit from a company parodying Armani called "Nomani". When he can't afford one, he goes to a cheaper shop called "Nomoney".
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Pockets's two companions, credited as Short Goon and Tall Goon, are significantly less competent than Pockets himself.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end, Long reveals that in order for him to return to help Din, he has to serve another ten masters. After a heartfelt hug, Din takes Long's teapot out to the street where he spies a familiar gray-bearded pipa player cycling towards him and gently adds the teapot to his cart.
  • Call-Back:
    • Long boasts that he was once a very important mortal and believes there will be a parade for him when he reaches Heaven. When he actually dies, the gates are closed and there's no parade waiting because of his empty, greed-filled life, but later, after his Heroic Sacrifice, he returns to Heaven with the gates wide open and an actual parade waiting.
    • In the prologue, Din and Li Na try to fly a dragon kite and find themselves on an unexpected ride through the air. Ten years later, the two do the same thing while flying on an actual dragon, Long.
    • When Long and Din first meet, the former derisively acknowledges the latter as a "peasant boy". The very last time they encounter each other, Long facetiously jokes "Oh look, a peasant boy."
  • Central Theme: Meaningful relationships are more important than hard work and financial success. This is repeatedly hammered by how Din does all he can to be able to meet up with Li Na again (and never once admits it's because he loves her; he truly likes her as a friend, and she has no problem with that either), while Li Na herself longs for her father's time but fails because he'd rather work himself to the bone to give her everything she wants but himself.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Pockets and later Din are only said to be good at kung fu, but they regularly perform superhuman feats of strength, agility, and flexibility, though it's justified for Din as he got his skills from Long's magic.
  • Childhood Friends: Din and Li Na, Din's desire to rekindle their friendship is the driving point of the plot.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Implied by the ending scene, where it's remarked that Din and Li Na are "too young to be holding hands".
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Din spends the first act meeting Long in his boxers.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Li Na suggests she and "Dan" have their date somewhere other than the fancy restaurant, both Din and Long fail to realize she means she wants someplace simpler and comfortable. Din thinks she means she wants to go to an even fancier restaurant. Building on that, Long thinks she's trying to finagle for a better venue.
  • Commonality Connection:
    • Din and Li Na meet when they get kicked out of their respective classes for drawing a dragon. Showing off their drawings makes the kids bond.
    • They become friends when Li Na throws a rock at a kid who mocked Din for his mom being late to pick him up. She's had experience with a father who couldn't always pick her up on time, and they hold hands to walk home together.
  • Corporal Punishment: Mrs. Song starts beating Din with a spoon after he arrives home with a girl, mistakenly believing that Din has been playing hooky to go on dates. It's not until Din reveals that the girl is in fact Li Na that she stops, though Mrs. Song shoots Din a Death Glare while warning him that he's not off the hook.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Subverted. The hidden figure who hired Pockets to track down the teapot is actually Li Na's father, who didn't intend for anyone to get hurt.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: A funny inversion. While Din exchanges kicks with Pockets from their respective dancing dragons in which they collide, making it look like the two dragons are making out, it's the little girl who is prompted to cover her grandmother's eyes.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: The old man who gives Long’s teapot to Din proclaims that he is a God and chose Din because he was pure of heart. Din politely dismisses this as just rambling. When Long gets to Heaven after his Heroic Sacrifice, we see that the old man wasn’t that crazy after all, as he is the Pipa God that greets Long at the gates.
  • The Cynic: Initially, Long has a very dim view of human nature. He gets better.
  • Deathly Dies Irae: A extended variation of the four notes of dies irae (with the first two notes repeated) plays as Pockets escapes with Long's teapot while Mr. Wang lays dying.
  • Delightful Dragon: Long. While he starts jaded and snarky, he grows and becomes a lot more friendly and caring towards Din.
  • Description Cut: When the goons find Din's house and stake out there, Pockets declares to his boss that the boy won't be able to get in without going through him. Cue Din and Long flying over them and getting home without being detected.
  • Disney Death: Pockets betrays Mr. Wang by kicking him off some scaffolding so he falls to his death. However, Din is able to use his final wish for Long to bring Mr. Wang back to life.
  • Disney Villain Death: Pockets turns to gold then shatters into many pieces after falling from a great height.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": "Long" is Mandarin for "dragon".
  • Dramatically Missing the Point:
    • When Li Na tells "Dan" that she has met "someone from a respectable family [she] enjoys talking to", Din is more focused on the part where she says "from a respectable family". The dramatic part is, this leads Din to look to Long to teach him how to act like a rich person, rather than rely on being his kind self. It ends just about as badly as you would expect.
    • Later, Li Na tries to have a heart-to-heart with her father about the absence of meaningful relationships in their lives because of their focus on wealth. She tries to illustrate her point by relating how "Dan" is really Din, and that they had a great time together despite his lack of wealth. However, instead of listening to what his daughter is saying, Mr. Wang instead pieces together that Din is the one in possession of the teapot his mooks have been looking for. As such, he leaves his daughter in mid-conversation so he can go through with his plan of taking the wish dragon for himself so he can save his business and keep providing for Li Na.
    • As a ruler, Long pushed his subjects to build monuments to him, forced his daughters to marry for political gain rather than love, and sent his son on a crusade that ultimately cost the young man's life. In the end, when Long was on his death bed, he was legitimately surprised that everybody in his life (who was pushed away by his own hand) never showed up.
  • Dreamworks Face: Long fits the bill on the America movie poster (shown on this page). The clever, asymmetrical smirk... check. The similarly crooked eyebrows... check. The half-closed eyes... check.
  • Dying Alone: As a human, this is how Long ended up on his death bed, with none of his family, friends or subjects showing up.
  • Education Mama: Din's mom is furious with him for cutting school and wants him to study for his future.
  • The Emperor: A long time ago before Long became a wish dragon he was a powerful ruler who spent his life gaining more wealth and land.
  • Everybody Has Standards: After Din has an argument with his mom and goes to his "room", Long peeks out of his teapot sheepishly. Normally, this is the part where Long goads Din to use up his (remaining) wish to fix the situation. But even someone as selfish as him can read the room and see that Din already has enough badgering from his mom without being pestered to make a wish. All he can do is help himself to the soup Din's mother left out before quietly retreating.
  • Extremity Extremist: Pockets does nearly everything with his feet, including pointing and gesturing.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Long intercepts the Midas Touch punch that Pocket intended for Din, we see his invisible body turning into a solid gold outline reveals a tranquil expression on his face indicating his willing sacrifice to save his friend.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Din learns Long used to be human, Long snarks at him for missing the obvious detailing on the teapot depicting his entire situation.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Long isn't used to being around modern Shanghai (his enquiry if it is still the Qing Dynasty would imply that he served his previous master before 1912) and has both good and bad times trying to get used to the setting. He initially grants a wish in the context of how it would be satisfied in ancient Chinese society.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The Spirit World or at least the outside of its gates are this.
  • Foil: Pockets is this to Din. Once he manages to seize the teapot, he mentions that he's sick of being used by people as a lowly servant and wishes to control them with power and riches rather than bothering to show kindness, which contrasts Din who holds friendship and family in high regard over power and riches.
    • The Wangs and the Songs mirror each other. Mr. Wang is a rich single dad with a daughter, Ms. Song is a poor single mom with a son.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the prologue, a POV shot of Long's attempt to enter Heaven being impeded by a giant figure with a Pipa is what later clues in the audience that the old man who gives Din the wish dragon teapot (who happens to be the owner of the Pipa) wasn't lying when he claimed "I am a God."
    • As children, Din and Li Na play with a dragon kite which bears a striking resemblance to Long.
    • While wearing his "No-Money" suit, Din goes up to the rooftop to rehearse how he'll hook up with Li Na for the first time in years using a digital billboard that displays one of her ads. But once her billboard image rotates away, Din's suit starts to fall apart. Much to his chagrin, it's nearly fallen to pieces before Li Na's image re-appears. This frames how Din's wish to be rich for only 24-hours wears off while Li Na's back is turned, and she turns to see "Dan" as Din.
    • Long's constant use of the word "peasant" is a clue that he was once a lord, and not a very humble one at that.
    • While perusing through modern China in all its advanced wonders, Long happens upon a Jewelry store and beams "Ah, the spoils of war on display!" Later, it turns out Long was once a greedy ruler, and he himself used to send others on crusades to win riches from those he conquered.
    • When Long disguises himself as a human chauffeur, Din tries to teach him how to walk with two legs only to find that Long already knows how. It's later revealed that Long Was Once a Man.
    • While disguised as a valet, Long's eagerness to enter Li Na's party as a guest (and his disappointment at having to take the servant's entrance) foreshadows his noble background.
    • Impressed by Din's countenance, Mr. Wang asks him what the Family Business is. Din lies that he comes from a family of restauranteurs. In the end, the Wangs and the Songs open a restaurant together.
  • Freeing the Genie: A variation from the standard tale in that it doesn't require that his Master wishes him free. As a Wish Dragon, he is bound to grant three wishes for ten masters at which point his freedom is granted. As Din is Long's tenth master, he's anxious to get the wishing over with as quickly as possible.
  • Freudian Slip: When Din figures that Long's never had a friend before, Long angrily protests that he indeed had many friends when he was a human. Judging by his reaction to this slip, he never intended to ever tell Din about his past life as a human.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: Long dies and arrives in Heaven, getting everything he originally wanted. However, he instead begs to be sent back to Earth to help Din.
  • Gossipy Hens: Din's entire neighborhood just loves to eavesdrop on him and his mother's discussions, no matter if it means huddling up and listening through the walls.
  • Grandpa God: The only God we see is a Miniature Senior Citizen with a bald head and fluffy, white beard who likes to play the pipa.
  • Greater Need Than Mine: Near the end of the film, Din uses his final wish to bring Li Na's father back from the dead.
  • Heel Realization: Witnessing Din and Li Na enjoy their meaningful connections with friends and neighbors alike is what makes Long realize where he went wrong in his previous life as a human ruler. Before, he was convinced that his banishment from entering heaven and being made a wish dragon were undeserved on his part. But by the time he shows Din his backstory, he has a sobering comprehension that he deserved his punishment for his terrible treatment of his servants and family alike.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pockets has a clear shot at Din with his Midas Hand but Long blocks the punch and is turned to gold instead. When Long gets to Heaven, he demands to be sent back to Earth to grant Din's last wish. The Pipa God grants his request on the condition that he'll have to serve another ten masters.
  • Hidden Depths: Li Na turns out to be a rather effective businesswoman, given she has a very aggressive method to get other businesses to form deals with Din's mother's restaurant in the ending.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: It isn't until Long later brings up he used to be human that he points out the strange three-pronged design on his teapot is really a depiction of his human form.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Pockets wishes for the ability to turn things into gold. It's what undoes him in the end as he turns into gold himself.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Mr. Wang built his business from the ground up. Although he hired questionable people to track down the teapot, he didn't want them to hurt anyone. In the end he and Li Na partner with Din and his mom to start a restaurant.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: About 1000 years ago, Long was a powerful ruler who lived in a grand palace with loyal servants and many children. But his greed cost him greatly, alienating him from his servants, sending his daughters away to be married for political gain, and sending his only son to his death during a crusade. On his deathbed, Long's actions left him with no one by his side. After his death, he was turned into a wish dragon, as penance for his greedy past life. A millennium later, on top of nobody bothering to remember him, the former ruler Long's palace has been reduced to an obscure ruin, a sobering monument to the prestige and power he lost long ago.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: While in human form at Li Na's party, Long goes to get a drink of water, only to later discover the water he drank was toilet water.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: One of the first activities Din and Li Na did together as children is playing shadow puppets. While they initially make simple shapes like rabbits and a dog-like creature, it quickly escalates into impossible shapes like the Monkey King and dinosaurs.
  • Invisible to Normals: Long can only be seen by the master of the teapot, though apparently, people can see him in bits of his real form mixed with his human form during Li Na's birthday party.
  • Irony: Long (the archetypal wish-granter) is pretty greedy about Din making his three wishes, while Din (the archetypal wish-maker) is rather humble about making them.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: During her birthday party, the DJ announces a daddy-daughter dance between Li Na and Mr. Wang. However, Mr. Wang is too busy to even attend the party, and instead, Li Na is left standing on the dance floor alone. To add insult to injury, Li Na hears the DJ remark "Who doesn't come to his own daughter's birthday?" before said-DJ realizes he didn't turn off the mic.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Long may be speaking as a former ruler who hails from a time when wealth was everything, but he's not wrong to say it was wrong for Din to lie and tell Li Na his name was Dan. And he also has Din pegged that he's letting his poor background keep him from being honest with Li Na about not being rich.
  • Karmic Jackpot: As the pure of heart person he is, Din uses his last wish to bring Li Na's father back to life. This earns the respect of Mr. Wang, who visits Din's home to thank him. Din's mother offers them dinner and he realizes it's the most delicious soup he's ever had. This in turn leads to Mr. Wang helping Din and his mother start a restaurant. Li Na ends up working the business end of the restaurant allowing Din the opportunity to be financially stable and be together as friends again.
  • Kite Riding: A young Din and Li Na are dragged by the kite they flew together. They do this again years later with a dragon costume, although it helps that said costume was the mystical Long in disguise.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: This occurs with the soundtrack and a literal band when Long returns to the afterlife after sacrificing himself, only to beg to return to help Din. It is fitting that his noble act is given literally no fanfare, as Long does not care about the praise anymore.
  • Liar Revealed: Mercifully downplayed with Din. After making his second wish and being exposed to "high society" at Li Na's birthday party, his insecurity caused him to lean more than he ever intended into the facade of "Dan". However, the instant his second wish ends and his trappings of wealth vanish, Din comes clean to Li Na even to admitting that he was afraid everything would end once she found out.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Pockets gets turned into a gold statue through his own wished-for power. Then he falls from a great height into a bridge, which shatters him.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Li Na leaves her best friend as a child. Later when surrounded by people at her party it's clear that she doesn't have a friend among them.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: When Long shows Din his old palace, the magical illustration is much more grand than the dark ruins it's been reduced to, further illustrating that all the riches and glory Long built up as ruler was ultimately meaningless.
  • Loose Lips: Din's friend comes by his apartment to hand him his assignment and a warning from their teacher about skipping school. He says this in front of his mother and the nosy neighbors.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: While not outright villainous, Long has a very cynical philosophy that at the end of the day, the only way humans can ever stay in each other's company is money. This viewpoint of his is challenged when he witnesses Li Na still enjoy Din's company despite he's no longer the wealthy "Dan". The following scene consists of him watching on baffled as she and Din explore and reminisce over their childhood neighborhood.
  • Maybe Ever After: The film never reveals if Din and Li Na would stay friends or become lovers, leaving it all up to the viewer's interpretation.
  • Midas Touch: The wish of Pockets. It initially seems to have some thought behind it as he limits the golden touch to a single hand, he rarely uses his hands anyway, and as a villain, it gives him a "one hit kill" ability. However, as with nearly all versions of this wish, he eventually turns something to gold that he didn't intend.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The movie starts with Din and Li as children before skipping ten years to their teenage years.
  • Morphic Resonance: When Long (reluctantly) masquerades as the newly-rich Din's valet, Long's human form has grey sideburns that look just like the sideburn tufts on his dragon form, and his tie is as pink as his fur. Later, it turns out to be an inversion, as his human form is his real form.
  • Mundane Wish: When Tall Goon and Short Goon get their hands on the teapot, Tall Goon just wishes for enough puppies to open a pet store, while Short Goon just wishes for longer legs. By the end, they're perfectly happy with the results.
  • Mystical Jade: As this is an Urban Fantasy adventure set in modern Shanghai, the titular Wish Dragon Long is locked in a jade teapot until Din summons him, and the teapot becomes a MacGuffin for the villains who seek the dragon's power. At the end, Long is put into a gold and white teapot for his second contract.
    • Not long after, Din wonders why he's never heard of Long the Mighty Ruler, despite Long's claims of being the greatest and most beloved of them all. To this, Long brushes it off as a rival lord stealing all the credit, rather than owning up that his obscurity was his own doing (between marrying off his daughters, getting his only male heir killed, and generally being a selfish tyrant).
    • The last moments of Long's human life was this trope. Despite pushing everyone in his life away with his greed and selfishness, Long has the gall to curse everyone who didn't show up at his death bed. He blames their alleged selfishness, failing to recognize they didn't show because he was a horrible human being.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Mr. Wang is too busy to attend his daughter's birthday party because he doesn't want them to go back to an impoverished life. Li Na too spends her birthday making important business connections, schmoozing, and booking deals instead of enjoying her party.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Everyone around Din's apartment building loves gossip and often eavesdrop on Din and his mother's arguments.
  • Nouveau Riche: Li Na and Mr. Wang were once working-class people before Mr. Wang worked hard enough to develop a successful conglomerate. The story goes into the impact that entering the wealthy elite has on Li Na. Li Na finds high society stifling and cares less about the fabulous luxuries she's able to afford than how her dad no longer has time for her. Meanwhile, Mr. Wang is desperate to maintain his status for Li Na, eventually leading to drastic measures when he hires Pockets to take the jade teapot to restore his good fortunes and prevent his business from going under..
  • Our Dragons Are Different: One of the first things Din notes about Long is that he is pink and furry instead of green and scaly. Long is a wish dragon, which is a punishment for mortals before they ascend to Heaven to learn the true value of life. He has to grant three wishes to ten masters before he is allowed to move on to the afterlife.
  • Phrase Catcher: Din's neighbors, who are constantly told "You're not helping." by Din and his mother.
  • Product Placement: The first scene of Din as an adult is him driving his scooter past a billboard advertisement for a Jaguar luxury car and other ads such as Raybanz. It especially stands out since most of the other billboards are for Bland Name Products like the Potato oPhone.
  • Recycled In Space: It's like Disney's Aladdin, but in modern Shanghai, and if Aladdin and Jasmine were childhood friends, and it's the Genie that has a character development arc because he's an arrogant snob, and the Genie doesn't require a master's wish to be free, and Aladdin is less of a jerk and more a truly nice guy that values friendship over everything else and the "pretend to be a prince" lie is quickly put aside as the two friends reconnect. But otherwise, "it's just like" Aladdin.
  • Refusing Paradise: Long demands to be sent back to Earth to help Din when he gets to the gates. The Pipa God allows him to to go back on the condition he serves another ten masters which he accepts.
  • The Reveal: Out of despair, Din uses his last wish for instant immense riches. Long summons a magical cloud...only to take him to a desolate wasteland riddled with ruins, indicating that he hasn't granted the wish. Long then reveals the entirety of his life as a rich emperor who abandoned everything for wealth, only to die alone with his kingdom lost to history.
  • Riches to Rags:
    • Downplayed with Mr. Wang. His very wealthy business eventually goes bankrupt, but doesn't crash into poverty as he manages to open a modest restaurant with Din's mother.
    • In order to accomodate the many trappings of being rich into a single wish, Din limits the wish to 24 hours. Unfortunately, that means that right while he's in the middle of his "date" with Li Na, his fancy attire and expensive watch all vanish leaving him in a t-shirt and jeans.
  • Selfless Wish: Din's final wish is for Mr. Wang to be brought back to life.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Din makes it clear to Long that his interest in reconnecting with Li Na is purely platonic. He just wants his best friend back.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During their childhood, Din and Li Na watch an episode of Journey to the West-Legends of the Monkey King.
    • The comedic fight scene that plays out when Din wishes that he knew how to fight is a clear reference to the works of Jackie Chan, who blended comedy and action by using improvised weapons or choreography that involves having his movements restricted (i.e. getting stuck in a door).
    • The soap opera that Mrs. Song and the other people in Din's neighborhood are watching features a man arguing with a Gold Digger woman out to claim the man's family business. The man proclaims that he should have listened to his mother, to which the woman replies that she is his mother, prompting the man to scream a Big "NO!" just as Luke did in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Signature Instrument: The Spirit World's guardian is introduced in both divine and human forms playing a pipa.
  • Soft Water: Near the end of the film, Dim is unharmed by a huge fall from high above a bridge into the ocean outside of Shanghai. That said, the now solid gold Long's body could have potentially broken the surface tension first.
  • Spirit World: Long's trying to get in. It looks like a Fluffy Cloud Heaven and there's a parade sitting for him when he gets there.
  • Symbolism:
    • As a child, Li Na used to wear her hair in a ponytail, reflecting her child-like innocence as well as her adventurous tomboy attitude. Ten years later, she wears her hair down since it suits her modeling career, signifying how her rich life has cost her personal happiness and the freedom to be herself. Later, when she and Din are running from the bad guys, Li Na putting her hair up to psych herself for a fight shows she never quite lost her tomboyish spirit.
      • Alternatively, the extent to which her hair is tied back indicates how much control Li Na has over her life. When she's a child, she has it in a partial pony-tail atop her head, since she knows what she wants, but her father has the ultimate say in moving out of her childhood home. Years later, her hair is down, and all the rich people in her life are shoving sponsorships in her face as though it were a one-sided conversation. During hers and Din's run-in with Pockets and his crew, Li Na puts up her hair in a complete ponytail, reflecting how she's taking back complete control over her life.
    • While crying over her father not showing up at her birthday party, Li Na hides inside a tiny fort made up of her own presents, giving a sense that she feels trapped inside her materialistic lifestyle, on top of feeling lonely from having no meaningful connections outside her absent father.
    • When Long relates his backstory, he magically animates his tale. He tells how he sent his son off to win more treasure and an animated arrow flies through Din's chest. Long then says his son came home a hero but the animation shows his son carried on bier with an arrow through his heart. This interplay wordlessly implies that Long's son was no older than Din when he died.
  • Taken for Granite: When Pockets gains the Midas Touch he can turn anything he touches, including people, into gold statues.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: One of the offers that Long tries to tempt Din into wishing for is the strength of 10,000 men. This is briefly makes Din incredibly muscular, to the point that one of his arms would be as thick as Din's torso is normally.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • As children, Din and Li Na make a promise to be best friends forever together. Not long after, Mr. Wang moves out of the apartment, and he's set on making sure his daughter never looks back on their old life.
    • During her date with "Dan", Li Na voices how nice it feels to have someone who listens as he does. Meanwhile, Long tells Din "Now completely ignore her (and she's yours)."
  • Three Wishes: Long will be free after granted three more to one master.
  • Wasteful Wishing:
    • To get Din to burn through his wishes quickly, Long tries to convince Din to use a wish to clear traffic. Din doesn't take the bait and instead uses Long's own impatience to convince him to just fly Din over the traffic jam.
    • In general, Long seems to view any wish that doesn't involve wealth or power as a waste of a wish. Once he learns that those things ultimately mean nothing, this attitude gets flipped; when Din finally tries to wish for wealth, Long now thinks that would be a waste and instead tries to talk him out of it.
  • We Need a Distraction: During the party, Din distracts the partygoers with a makeshift kung-fu performance in order to help Li Na whose father was not present for the father-daughter dance which made things awkward for everyone.
  • Wham Line: When Mr. Wang steels his resolve to keep giving Li Na a better life despite his business will foreclose soon, he turns away from the audience's view and retains the silhouette of Pockets' mysterious client. ...while he calls them as the client.
    • What's more, the reveal also sums up the Freudian Excuse behind Pockets' mystery client in a nutshell: he's not doing this out of greed, but love.
  • Will They or Won't They?: A major theme in the relationship between Din and Li Na, where despite being expressed as only being platonic, it's hinted that they may like each other. In the end, their relationship status remains equivocal.
  • Wishing for More Wishes: Din tries to use his second wish to become a princeling with a fancy suit, Rolex watch, a chauffered car and a personal assistant. Long cuts him off saying that'll take ten wishes when he only has two left. Din successfully haggles to get all this with one wish but only for 24 hours.
  • With My Hands Tied: Pockets generally refuses to use his hands for anything, presumably because he's effective enough to get by only using his legs. When he gets serious against Din, he finally pulls out his hands, and easily curbstomps him with a flurry of blows.
  • Your Make Up Is Running: Li Na has this when she cries to herself in a lonely spot in order to vent over how she has no friends or meaningful connections in her life (her own father not showing to her birthday party being the last straw).


Video Example(s):


Long The Wish Dragon

A young student named Din comes into possession of an ancient magical teapot from which he can summon Long, a Wish-Dragon. Wish dragons are all-powerful magical beings that have to serve ten masters before they are allowed to enter the spirit world.

How well does it match the trope?

4.92 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / OurDragonsAreDifferent

Media sources: