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The Secret of the Magic Gourd (2009) - Review for Parents

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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The Secret of the Magic Gourd
Photo © Disney Enterprises. All rights reserved.
MPAA Rating: G
Genre: Family
Age Range: 4 years +
Runtime: 85 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios

The Secret of the Magic Gourd - Summary

Based on the beloved Chinese children’s novel, The Secret of the Magic Gourd is one of China’s top grossing family films and is Disney’s first Chinese language film. DVDs sold in the US are voiced over with an English soundtrack (Corbin Bleu provides the voice for the Magic Gourd), but Mandarin and Cantonese soundtracks are also available on the same DVD.

The movie tells the story of young Raymond, an 11-year-old boy who has a vivid imagination, but not a lot of motivation. Raymond's family, classmates, and teacher are frustrated with his lack of dedication, but he just wishes he could have it all without lifting a finger.

One day, Raymond's aspiration seems to come true. While fishing, he reels in the legendary Magic Gourd -- a powerful vegetable who can grant any wish Raymond's little heart desires, as long as Raymond doesn't tell anyone about him. The Gourd provides Raymond with things he wants and helps him achieve his goals, but it isn't long before Raymond discovers that getting everything he wants isn't all that great sometimes.

Indeed, Raymond learns this lesson the hard way. After bringing shame to his family and embarrassment to himself, young Raymond determines to put in the work to achieve his own success, but can he really do it without the Gourd's help?

The Secret of the Magic GourdPhoto © Disney Enterprises. All rights reserved.

The Secret of the Magic Gourd - Guide Review for Parents

The Secret of the Magic Gourd is dubbed over in English, so the words don't match the mouths of the characters exactly, and a few of the translated phrases sound slightly odd. These points might be a bit distracting for some, but other than that, the movie is essentially a perfect family film.

The moral of this Chinese story is presented clearly and poignantly in a way that is especially suited for children. The story contains magic and whimsy, relates the characters' feelings and emotions simply and effectively, and portrays a clear lesson that is strong and emotional for the main character. Raymond's new understanding of the value of hard work and the great feeling that comes from truly earning something is brought about step-by-step, so that viewing kids understand what is happening and experience the learning process right along with him. By the end of the movie, viewers will be inspired and proud right along with little Raymond as well.

This G rated movie contains very little content that would be likely to offend. In one scene, a character calls another boy "dummy." Also, in the beginning of the movie, Raymond's character is lazy, and he is sometimes demanding and rude to the Gourd as he is going through the painful process of learning the hard way. Raymond eventually does show a more contrite attitude, though, and he proactively determines to make a change.

The Secret of the Magic Gourd - Discuss the Movie with Your Family

  • Why is Raymond so lazy in the beginning of the story? Why doesn't he care that his failure to do his part is frustrating to his family and friends? What causes him to change his mind and start to work hard?
  • What if you had a magic gourd that would give you everything you want? Why is this "something for nothing" idea attractive to people? What is the downside of getting everything you want without having to do anything for it?
The Secret of the Magic GourdPhoto © Disney Enterprises. All rights reserved.

The Secret of the Magic Gourd - DVD Special Features

  • Bloopers
  • Backstage Disney: Go behind the scenes to see how this film was made
  • Games & Activites: Too Many Toys! Game
  • Music Video: "World of Wonder" (Chinese version)
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