Tag Archives: Philip Klein

Soundtrack News: ‘Wish Dragon’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is Available Now

Earlier this month Milan Records released Sony Picture Animations Wish Dragon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Philip Klein. The 25 tracks feature a number of traditional Chinese instruments – the Pipa, the Sheng, Ruan – but run through synthesizers and given a modern touch.

Speaking about working on the score, Philip Klein said, “The journey of scoring Wish Dragon began with hours of creative discussions, a fair amount of geeking out and the trial and error of musical experiments with director Chris Appelhans.”

He went on to explain, “Our mutual love of exploring lesser known music and sound guided us through generations of Chinese folk songs, instruments, artists and expression. What we ended up with over a year later was a deeply layered, thematic score; richly colored by beautiful traditional instruments, wistful textures and the might of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Chris’ deep love and respect for this story and all of the brilliant filmmakers and artists behind it made my job seem like I was the one being granted a wish.”

Following an inspiring trip to China in 2006, director Chris Appelhans returned fascinated by the country’s vibrant culture and overnight modernization. He realized it was the perfect setting for a story about wishes; in a world changing so fast, the big questions about life and values were impossible to ignore. Compelled to share this unique yet universal story with audiences around the world, he knew animation was the best way to express the story’s authenticity, humor and heart. He even learned Mandarin.

Chris Appelhans had this to say about the score, “[Philip Klein] has created the kind of score that not only elevates the film, but stands on its own — iconic melodies, true soul and a timeless mix of modern and traditional elements. Every time I listen, I’m moved — and to me that’s the highest praise any music can earn.”

Track List

1. Endless Sky – Kenton Chen, Katherine Ho & Weilim Lin
2. Free Smiles – Tia Ray
3. Prologue – Philip Klein
4. Li Na Says Goodbye – Philip Klein
5. I Gotta Go – Philip Klein
6. The Goons – Philip Klein
7. All Dressed Up – Philip Klein
8. The Tea Is Ready – Philip Klein
9. Finders Keepers – Philip Klein
10. City Walk – Philip Klein
11. Aerial Acrobatics – Philip Klein
12. Din and Li Na – Philip Klein
13. Long Admits – Philip Klein
14. Din and Mom Argue – Philip Klein
15. Shanghai Showdown – Philip Klein
16. That Same Old Shikumen – Philip Klein
17. Certain Expectations – Philip Klein
18. The Wish Dragon – Philip Klein
19. Teapot Battle – Philip Klein
20. True Sacrifice – Philip Klein
21. My Last Wish – Philip Klein
22. Everything That Matters / The End – Philip Klein
23. A Tale As Old As Time (Suite I) – Philip Klein
24. A Tale as Old as Time (Suite II) – Philip Klein
25. Din’s Piano – Philip Klein

See also:

My Thoughts on: Wish Dragon (2021)

Music, Magic, and Dragons: Talking With Composer Philip Klein About Wish Dragon (2021)

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My Thoughts on: Wish Dragon (2021)

After finally sitting down and watching Wish Dragon on Netflix, I have to confess I have (once again) learned a powerful lesson: one should never judge a movie by its first 20 minutes alone. Because while Wish Dragon does get off to a rather slow start, it does eventually come into its own with a beautiful story to tell.

The story of Wish Dragon is set in modern Shanghai and follows a capable (but poor) young man named Din, who unexpectedly finds himself in possession of a magic teapot containing a “wish dragon” named Long who can grant him three wishes. If that sounds suspiciously familiar to the plot of Aladdin, well, it is, and on that basis alone I almost gave up on the film because, let’s be honest, Disney did that story years ago and did it very well.

But there’s a key difference between these two films and that is the titular wish dragon Long. This pink dragon is no Genie, and the film is well-written to make sure we don’t think of him that way. Long is an unexpectedly complex character; he started off irritating but slowly grew to become one of my favorite characters in the film. Long isn’t just a magical dragon, he has his own motivations that color the story and that creates a completely different relationship between Din and Long than what exists between Aladdin and the Genie. It’s a brilliant twist on this kind of story actually, and I’m glad I stuck with the film to see how this story arc played out.

Another thing I love about Wish Dragon is how this story puts a platonic twist on the “boy wants girl” story trope. When I first heard of this film and realized there was a young man and young woman involved, I rolled my eyes and thought “here we go, another YA animated romance film. Next!” And then I saw the part in the trailer where Din admits that he does NOT want Lina to fall in love with him, he just wants her back as his best friend. And that made my jaw DROP. That….you don’t see that in stories, or at least you didn’t until now. It was so refreshing to see a story where romance is NOT the ultimate goal of these magic wishes (another key difference from Aladdin).

And then there’s the film’s themes about telling the truth and friendship. Of course the most important theme in this film is friendship and how it is one of the most important things you can have, even more than money or fame. But…at the same time there’s an almost equal emphasis on telling the truth, be it about what you really want in life or being honest about who you really are. You need to be honest with yourself and the world about what you really want, at least that’s what I gathered after watching this film.

As a quick side note, I might also say that Wish Dragon also has a smaller lesson embedded in it, that being “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” It’s a lesson you don’t see implemented consistently with magical wish-granting stories, but Wish Dragon does make good use of it in this film, and Long even snarks about how one should “be careful what you DON’T wish for” in reference to this idea.

Now, as much as I ended up loving Wish Dragon, it does take a little while to get going. I beg you to be patient with the film’s first act because once things are properly set into motion, the story is a lot of fun. Other than that, I have no real complaints about this film. The animation is smartly done and the music, as I learned from talking to the film’s composer, is indeed a perfect blending of East and West.

Despite some minor flaws and a slow start, Wish Dragon proved itself to be everything I was promised and more. It proves a story like this doesn’t need romance to work and it also rams the lesson home that money is NOT everything nor is being rich everything it’s cracked up to be. As the credits rolled, I found myself more than happy with what I’d seen and I happily recommend checking this film out on Netflix.

Let me know what you think of Wish Dragon on Netflix in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Music, Magic, and Dragons: Talking With Composer Philip Klein About Wish Dragon (2021)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook