The Tiger’s Apprentice: An Animated Introduction to AAPI Culture and Traditions

by Andrew Nguyen

The Tiger’s Apprentice starring Brandon Soo Hoo, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Oh, Leah Lewis, Bowen Yang, follows the life of a teenager named Tom and the self-discovery of himself and his heritage as a mystical guardian against the forces of evil.

The film is a great feature for the whole family to experience. It is a terrific way to introduce the many traditions of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) culture to a younger generation. For example, to highlight a couple relatable moments, Tom’s disgust when Mr. Hu comes into his home with his shoes on or when Cynthia, the dim sum owner, yells at everyone to eat more. This movie came just in time for the audience to celebrate the traditions and identity of the AAPI community as well as the Lunar New Year!

The diversity of talented voice actors helps bring these characters to life and produce a sense of charm in each and every one of them. My two personal standouts were Bowen Yang’s Sidney (The Rat) and Sherry Cola’s Naomi (The Monkey). Overall, everyone was fantastic in developing their own voice which helped create a cohesive bond among characters.

Although the film has a happy ending that resolves the conflicts of the story, the storytelling could have benefited from a longer run time to allow more character building and the introduction of more zodiac animals. If not a longer run time, maybe its own television series as there’s plenty of material to draw from with a trilogy of novels by Lawrence Yep: The Tiger’s Apprentice, Tiger’s Blood, and Tiger Magic. This film had the same energy as another popular zodiac animal fantasy property that I grew up on…ahem* Jackie Chan Adventures ahem*. This film had vibrant animation and just a fun watch for the whole family!

Catch The Tiger’s Apprentice on Paramount+ starting February 2, 2024.

Where to watch The Tiger's Apprentice

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