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|Zhu Oi Long|
|Guo Kai Min|
|Corbin Bleu||Voice Only|
|Drake Johnston||Voice Only|
|Takayo Fischer||Voice Only|
|Megan Hilty||Voice Only|
|Aaron Michael Drozin||Voice Only|
|Josh Reaves||Voice Only|
|Jeremy Shada||Voice Only|
|John Chu||Director, Producer, Screenwriter|
|Yee Chung-man||Production Designer|
|Peter Kam||Score Composer|
|Lam Kee To||Screenwriter|
|Chan Chi Ying||Cinematographer|
Posted October 1, 2010
This film is a Disney product. It's cutesy, kitschy, full of small . yech . children, and partly animated. The only problem is that it's cutesy to the max, kitschier than "Leave It to Beaver", and the animation! .well, the animation's OK, I guess.
The "Secret of the Magic Gourd" is that it's awful. There certainly isn't any other secret, because what the magic gourd does is telegraphed to you right up front, and the appearance in the narrative is even less of a surprise than the appearance of an E.T. in "E.T.". About the only surprise in the whole thing is that the M.G.'s finger doesn't light up. Imagine the Disney imagineers forgetting that!
The gist of S.o.t.M.G. is that there is a Magic Gourd (yeah, OK, so?) and it will grant you your every wish. Gourds are singularly unattractive objects (despite the opinions of deluded people who use them as decorations). Why not a genie? Disney does great genies. But no. We get a yellow gourd with big eyes and an off-side mouth. A yellow gourd that . well, here comes the plot.
Raymond Bao is your typical 11-year-old boy. He's Chinese, which makes him statistically typical. He's lazy and not interested in doing what it takes to be successful at whatever school wants him to do. He's heard the story of the Magic Gourd and of course wants to find it. As things turn out, it finds him.
Gourds are, as you will recall, basically hollow. This one is no exception, especially in the upper part, where the brains ought to be. It therefore never thinks wishes through, but grants them very literally, including brainless (of course) speculations as to what "master" really wants.
The results are naturally disastrous. Over and over and over . and OVER . again. You would certainly think somebody would catch on. The audience ought to right away, but most of reviews of this film seem to indicate a gourd-like quality in the reviewers. The gourd seems to have caught on in the end, sort of. Raymond catches on at last and gets rid of the gourd. He then actually works for a goal (winning a track meet), which of course he does because this is a Disney film. Not for Disney the moral complexity and ambiguity of trying to explain how it's all right to practice your guts out and still not quite make it.
I'm sure some of you are waiting for the other bits like subplots, subtexts, secondary plots, or anything to make this more than a very long 8-minute cartoon. Actually, "Magic Gourd" is even less complex than an 8-minute cartoon. Animated humor for children is most successful when it aims some of its content toward adult viewers. Adults need not apply here.
What we have here is a film that's got a moral point to hammer home, and hammer it does - so much so that even the most retarded 3-year-old will get the point by the time the story's half-way done. This klutzy production has nothing on its . um, . mind but beating its little viewers about their collective heads with a single point. The lack of variety is positively stultifying. I was riveted to my seat with boredom. Any child with half a brain would be, too - I would hope. Nobody, however immature, should be subjected to this nursery rhyme gone mad.
On the other hand, I can see how children might actually like things like this. The results from our schools indicate that the little troglodytes flee from mental challenges, despise learning, and are generally less attractive than the pre-Gourd Raymond Bao. This sort
Posted May 5, 2009
No text was provided for this review.