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The Secret of the Magic Gourd

3.6 out of 5 stars 72 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:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001JRB17Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,938 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Amazon Video
There is one thing that really stands out in the fairy tale "The Secret of the Magic Gourd"--and, thankfully, that is a wonderfully under appreciated gourd. With its crooked grin and sweet, but sad, eyes--our hero struggles to understand the needs and wants of one of the most unappealing movie youths to come around in some time. The gourd (somewhere between a squash and a pumpkin) has a vitality, a humor, and a bizarreness that left me entranced and perplexed. Giving a great, heartfelt performance, this vegetable (technically, I suppose it might be a fruit) pulls out all the dramatic and comedic stops. Its mission in life is to grant wishes to its "master," and although nothing more is ever explained in this fable about the gourd's backstory--I guess you'll either go with it or you won't.

The "master" in question, however, is a bumbling 11 year old. At first, he seems misunderstood--but as he takes the reins of his own desires, it soon becomes clear how self-involved and truly ungrateful the little brat is! His wishes create havoc and misery for everyone, and he continuously takes his furor out on his new, and only real, friend. The old adage "Be careful what you wish for..." has never seemed so true. But our boy never takes responsibility for his own actions, everything is someone else's fault. It becomes grating and irksome--but sit patiently, a big lesson is to be learned.

No real consequences, however, ever befall the boy and the film's lesson is cheapened by making the ending so rosy. The boy is embraced by all the students that he has betrayed and cheated--with no real apology. The boy, who made the swim team by cheating, works really hard and competes in the big race.
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