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  Publicity Stills of "The Magic Gourd"
(Courtesy from BVI)

In Mandarin with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: John Chu & Frankie Chung
Cast : Zhu Qilong, Gigi Leung
RunTime: 1 hr 25 mins
Released By: BVI
Rating: G
Official Website: www.hulumimi.com.cn

Opening Day: 6 September 2007


The Magic Gourd is an adaptation of a beloved Chinese novel written by one of the most celebrated authors of children literature in China, the late Zhang Tianyi.

Based on the acclaimed children's novel in China, The Magic Gourd presents a modern spin on the beloved fairy tale.

It revolves around Wang Bao, a schoolboy who dreams of achieving great things but often lacks the dedication to realize anything. His quixotic persona has made him the laughing-stock at school.

Wang's grandmother loves to tell a bedside story to Wang Bao and his sister: a legend about a Magic Gourd possessing magical powers and would grant its mater anything he wishes. Wang Bao, though skeptical, had always wished he could have done one to make him popular at school.

One day, while Wang Bao is fishing at a lake near his home, the mythical Magic Gourd surfaces from the bottom of the pond and Wang's life is changed forever! With his secret personal wish fulfillment being in his pocket, Wang soon transforms from zero to hero as he excels in class and
at sports overwhelming his friends and thus earning the admiration he long desires.

However, Wang soon realizes that having Magic Gourd may not be as blissful as he thinks, as it soon lands him into a series of hilarious misadventures. When the Gourd's presence continues to turn his world upside down, Wang struggles with a dilemma: Should he continue to reply on Magic Gourd to satiate his needs, or is he capable to become a hero of his own?

Movie Review:

The plot is almost silly: A magic gourd which talks and grants whatever wishes you have? Come on, kids nowadays are more intelligent to buy this load of make-believe. But there is also something idealistically engaging about thick Mainland Chinese production which will appeal to the kid in you.

Based on a novel, the digestible 85-minute movie tells the story of a boy who discovers a magic gourd which can do anything he wants it to. And kids being kids, all sorts of requests start coming in, to some disastrous results. If you don’t already know by now, the Disney-produced movie has an educational message to tell.

The cutesy picture brings live action and animation together quite decently to appeal to the younger viewers. There are some imaginative and adorable sequences which involve fishes, chess pieces, a ferocious dinosaur and an army of toys. Just don’t step into the theatre expecting Pixar standards.

The magic gourd is a somewhat awkward creation, with its mouth smacked in the middle of its belly, but Chinese voice actor Chen Pei Si (who also voiced Edna Mode and Mushu in China’s version of The Incredibles and Mulan) brings life to the delightful character with enough zest.

Also, watch out for Gigi Leung’s otherwise bland performance as a Mathematics teacher who manages to make us giggle in amusement whenever she recites lines which are oh-so-righteous. Child actor Zhu Qi Long (whose biggest screen credit is in Jet Li’s Fearless) gives an earnest performance as a kid who, well, just wants to be happy.

There are certain sequences which will remind you of other Disney flicks like Toy Story and Dinosaur, but of course, not as excitingly rendered and played out as the American versions.

Directed by John Chu and Frankie Chung (who worked as the visual effects supervisor on Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu), this wholesome family movie is obviously targeted at the younger audience, that is, unless, you do not understand moral issues like having to work for what you want in life.

Movie Rating:

( The harmless movie is a good learning tool for the young ones, while keeping them suitably entertained)

Review by John Li


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