Disney's first feature-length Chinese production, this live-action adventure follows the story of Wang Bao (Qilong Zhu/voiced by Corbin Bleu in the English dubbed version), an 11-year-old boy from Beijing who spends his time daydreaming and being teased by his classmates at school. While out fishing he finds Bao Hulu, a magical gourd that can grant him anything he wishes - but instead of making all his dreams come true, the gourd only succeeds in turning his world upside down.
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 realises 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 synchronisation between voices and mouths in the film is disturbing to some kids and adults, it's more accessible than subtitles. (Ages 5 and older) --Tami Horiuchi