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First 'Wish Dragon' Trailer Appears

Sony Pictures Animation has a strategy unlike any other major Hollywood animation studio. One strand is the International Strategy, where SPA will collaborate with studios around the world to attempt to tell a wider range of stories. The first announced title for this was Wish Dragon, a feature produced by Sony in association with China's Tencent Pictures, Cultural Investment Holdings and Base Media. Despite apparently having an intended release for 2020 (in China, at least) we had yet to see more than the previously released concept art.

Now, the first teaser has found its way online, without any fanfare. It's a trailer for the Chinese market- it has English language audio but Chinese subtitles- and we aren't able to confirm if this upload is official (we'll update it with one that is should it become available).

Writer-director Chris Applehans is a US animation industry veteran making his directorial debut. The film is a retelling of the "genie in a bottle" story set in contemporary China. It follows a young man who finds a bottle containing a dragon able to grant wishes. The similarities to Aladdin go further than the basic set-up, as the trailer reveals the Dragon to be a motor-mouth in the vein of Robin Williams in the Disney classic (voiced by John Cho), and the lead (Din, voiced by Jimmy Wong) even asks to become a prince.

The concept art for this film was gorgeous (see above), while the animation seen here seems pretty run-of-the-mill. Which is doubly disappointing seeing as Sony's In-house films have been going in such visually interesting directions.

It's important to remember it's only a teaser- hopefully, there's much more to this film than there appears here, both visually and in the storytelling. If not, it still looks like it will be a solid and entertaining family film, but could be a missed opportunity to be something more.

Hopefully, we'll see more in later trailers. The US release date is currently listed as a non-specific "2020" but given the current situation, we would not be at all surprised to see it pushed back. Watch the trailer, and check out the new poster,  below.






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