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The Secret of the Magic Gourd

70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

DESCRIPTION: Experience a magical story about the boundless limits of imagination and the strength we each have inside us with Disney s heartwarming film The Secret Of The Magic Gourd. Based on the beloved children s novel and featuring the voice talent of High School Musical s Corbin Bleu, this wondrous fantasy is sure to delight the entire family. It s a truly inspiring story that captures the wonder and awe of childhood, raves Carey Bryson of
When an inquisitive 11-year-old discovers a mythical, magical gourd while fishing, he has no idea of the trouble that lies at the end of his hook. With the ability to grant any and every wish, The Magic Gourd attempts to make all of the boy s dreams come true, but instead succeeds in turning his world upside down. Enjoy every moment of this enchanting adventure as a curious child discovers that the best things in life are those he earns himself

Disney's first Chinese co-production, The Secret of the Magic Gourd is based on a traditional Chinese story by Zhang Tiun Yi about the value of hard work. Eleven-year-old Raymond Bao struggles against the high expectations of his parents, teachers, and fellow students while craving the freedom to pursue his interests and dreams at his own pace. Scoffing at his Grandmother's favorite tale about a magic gourd, Raymond goes fishing and catches a strange talking gourd that begins making his every wish come true. Initially ecstatic at his good fortune, Raymond quickly discovers that the gourd's literal interpretations of his wishes, without regard to consequences, can cause serious problems. While Raymond begins to excel in academics, swimming, and the estimation of his teacher and peers, his instant successes inspire doubt regarding his honesty and morality. Raymond soon realizes that bad thoughts lead to becoming bad, and begins to understand that he must rely on his own inner strength in order to become a better, more successful person. The film's combination of real-life footage and animation is an effective way of portraying a world at once real and imaginary and the cross-cultural message about the value of working hard speaks to every audience. In this English adaptation, the magic gourd is voiced by High School Musical's Corbin Bleu; while the lack of synchronization between voices and mouths in the film is disturbing to some kids and adults, it's a whole lot more accessible than subtitles. Additional voice tracks include Mandarin and Cantonese, and there are also English subtitles for the hearing impaired. The 28-minute "Backstage Disney" feature is an interesting interview (in Chinese with English subtitles) with director and producer John Chu that delves into the story, individual characters, and the innovative collaboration between China Film Group, Hong Kong Centro Digital Pictures, and Disney International. An interactive sorting game and Chinese music video "World of Wonder" round out the bonus features. (Ages 5 and older) --Tami Horiuchi

Product Details

  • Actors: Corbin Bleu
  • Directors: Zhu Jiaxin, Zhong Zhihang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Cantonese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001JRB17Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,532 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Greg Ehrbar VINE VOICE on January 27, 2009
Format: DVD
The Secret of the Magic Gourd is a very lovely film and deserves more notice in the U.S. than it is getting. The first of Disney's Chinese co-productions, the film did respectable business in China, where it is titled "Bao hu lu de mi mi."

In the interest of lip synchronization, the young boy's name is changed from "Bao" to "Raymond" and the Gourd's name is "Bailey," from the Chinese "Hu lu" (could it be that the website hulu gets its name from here)?

The story, from a classic Chinese children's book, is a dreamlike, present day tale in which a boy learns to be careful what he wishes for -- a theme explored with horror in "The Monkey's Paw" and The Twilight Zone and with humor on I Dream of Jeannie. Some of the wacky antics caused by little Bailey in his earnest attempts to please his "master" reminded me very much of "Jeannie."

U.S. film and TV makers might take a closer look at Gourd, with its traditional family, caring teacher and pleasant friends. No bumbling dysfunctional parents (or lack thereof), no caricatured authority figures or no snarky, hip-holding preteens here. The kids aren't always nice to Raymond but they do stick with him in the end.

Speaking of hip-holding preteens, the presence of High School Musical star Corbin Bleu is very likely a device to allow youngsters the privilege of watching this movie without eye-rolls and loud sighs from older siblings. But don't underestimate him -- Bleu does a very creditable job. His natural likeability shines through his vocal performance. That's not easy when you've also got to act as well as focus on replacing dialogue recorded and animated for another language.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By iansomniak on March 5, 2009
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the story of a Chinese boy by the name of Raymond (a.k.a. Wang Bao) who has a creative imagination, but is chronically lazy and forgetful. Ray has a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, and he stubbornly refuses to trim his toenails on a regular basis (which, of course, can eventually wreak havoc on one's socks and shoes). The flaw that gets young Raymond into the most trouble, however, is his habitual failure to study for the rigorous math exams, administered daily by his demanding teacher, Miss Lee. It seems that in China, students work in groups, so one slacker will negatively affect the whole team's grade. Thus, Raymond's carelessness infuriates not only his instructor, but his classmates as well. One fateful afternoon, a dejected Raymond flees the jeers of his peers and heads for the lake to do some fishing. There he makes a wish, a wish to succeed in school and life without having to do any work or spend any time studying. Enter Bailey (or Bao Hulu), a diminutive genie in the form of a Chinese bottle gourd.

Bailey seems like an odd name for a gourd (Gordon would be better), but this little fellow is no ordinary gourd. Looking a bit like a dollop of soft-serve ice-cream, this anthropomorphic calabash has widely spaced button-like eyes on the upper half of his body, a hollow mouth in the middle of his belly, and no nose whatsoever. He appears to be made of plastic, like a Mr. Potato Head toy, and his rubbery limbs stretch and expand like Mr. Fantastic's. The Magic Gourd is also a shape-shifter, like the Shmoo, who can morph into anything from a speedboat engine to an alarm clock. He can melt into a puddle or grow into a giant monster...he can even burst into flames at will, without being consumed in the inferno.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Loveland on January 31, 2009
Format: DVD
This film is a lot of fun. Kids will enjoy it even though adults may not. The story telling is a little different from American style (Asian films usually are), but the earnestness of the actors shines through. The kid was great. His performance was enjoyable. Corbin Bleu's voice over was fantastic. He made the character of Bailey the Gourd very likeable even when Bailey's magic caused more problems than it solved. I was hoping for a song by Bleu but, alas, there is none. The made up bloopers are very funny. The documentary at the end is good for about 10 minutes before it gets boring. The music video doesn't have English subtitles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. VINE VOICE on November 19, 2009
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Secret of The Magic Gourd is a famous childrens story, written back in the 1950s, that is brought to vivid life by Walt Disney Productions in conjunction with Centro Pictures Entertainment and China Film Group. It's about a young boy, named Raymond, who has a very vivid imagination but would prefer not to have to work very hard in school to get what he wants.

One day, while fishing, Raymond stumbles upon a mysterious creature, named Bailey, who tells Raymond that he can give him anything he wants. He only needs to ask. At first it seems like a child's dream come true, with Bailey providing Raymond with all kinds of things, such as food, toy robots, and different kinds of fish. But Bailey doesn't always understand Raymond's wishes and makes mistakes that ultimately cause Raymond to look bad in front of the other children at school. In the end, Raymond learns to become more independent and responsible for his own actions, which enables him to be a good son and a much better student.

The film took several years to complete, with some very impressive CGI effects that bring Bailey, the magic gourd, and all his amazing abilities to life. Scenes such as one involving Raymond being chased by a dinosaur in a movie scene that's playing at a local movie theater, comes off quite stunningly. You can really tell that the years it took to finish the production really paid off. The message of the film is also a very universal one that will appeal to children all over the world.

The problem I had with this US DVD version, lies in the English dubbing of the Mandarin-speaking actors. It does not fit very well and some of the dialogue is changed in the translation which causes some very awkward moments. It's almost cartoonish at times, when it shouldn't be.
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