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The Secret of the Magic Gourd
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that kids might be interested in this movie because the English version features the voice of High School Musical star Corbin Bleu. There's no real questionable content to worry about. This is a moral tale from China, where gourds hold special mythological power. The main character cheats and lies, while the magic gourd helps him get ahead in sports, school, and home life. Lessons learned, however, prove that hard work is the highest path to success.
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What's the story?
Raymond (voiced by Drake Johnston and played by Peisi Chen) is a quintessential dreamer. He wakes up late, nearly missing the opportunity to say goodbye to his parents as they embark on a business trip. He lags behind in school, bringing his classmates' grades down, and he's not athletic enough to be on the swim team. All of this changes when he goes fishing and meets a magic gourd named Bailey (voiced by Corbin Bleu.) Though he might be dreaming, Raymond discovers that the magic gourd grants everything his heart desires. This includes getting great grades in school, breaking swimming records, eating tantalizing meals, and having his room cleaned for him. Not everything goes as planned, though, and Raymond begins to behave like a spoiled brat. He soon learns a powerful lesson, which brings him back to earth and back to harmony with his family and friends.
Is it any good?
Traditional ways and the modern themes marry nicely in this enchanting tale. Based on the story "The Secret of the Magic Gourd," by Zhang Tian Yi, the film broaches a cultural subject that will appeal to young American viewers: what happens when a child is given everything he desires. In the telling, there are some interesting cultural markers not often seen in American films for kids. For example, Raymond's grandmother does all of the cooking and cleaning for the family. She cares for the children in a traditional way, telling them stories and clipping their toenails. Raymond's father rarely smiles, grinning only when Raymond wins the swimming championship.
Look closely and notice the advanced math and science that the kids are doing in class. See how they ride their bikes without helmets and hike in the forest with a fishing rod and a bucket. Moreover, a strange-looking gourd with mythological powers transforms a kid's life on a grand scale. Kids can discover a bit about what it means to grow up in China today, while learning a moral lesson about hard work and integrity.
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