Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 17 News List

Disney exports its magic

The magic gourd can grant any wish, but is it right to use it?

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Secret of the Magic Gourd is a Chinese story about a boy and his magic vegetable buddy who can help him achieve anything he wants.

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF SONY PICTURE

An indolent, 11-year-old boy, the laughingstock of his school, goes fishing and discovers a magic gourd that will grant him any wish. He quickly becomes class hero and the star of the school swim team. Life is perfect until he begins to question the morality and fairness of using the gourd. In the end, he must decide whether to continue relying on supernatural powers to succeed, or work hard and earn his own rewards. The outcome of the swimming final hangs on his decision.

Another all-American Disney cartoon? Not exactly. The boy's name is Wang Bao (王葆) and the story was written by Chinese satirist Zhang Tianyi (張天翼) in the 1940s, after the Communist regime designated him a children's writer. Disney co-produced the movie with BVI, the China Film Group Corporation, and Hong Kong's Centro Digital Pictures, making it the first-ever Disney movie made outside the US.

The credits include directors John Zhu (朱家欣) and Frankie Chung (鍾智行), and actors Zhu Qilong (朱祺隆) starring as Wang Bao (王葆) and Gigi Leung (梁詠琪) as Teacher Liu (劉老師).

Nearly two years after the opening of Disney Hong Kong, the franchise is again embracing the Chinese market with a movie that is a Chinese story, shot in Mandarin, with Chinese directors, cast and crew, and which, above all, is intended for a Chinese audience.

Film notes

The Secret of the Magic Gourd (飛天小葫蘆)

DIRECTED BY: JOHN ZHU (朱家欣)AND FRANKIE CHUNG (鍾智行)

STARRING: ZHU QILONG (朱祺隆) AS WANG BAO (王葆), GIGI LEUNG (梁詠琪) AS TEACHER LIU (劉老師)

LANGUAGE: IN MANDARIN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

RUNNING TIME: 87 MINUTES

TAIWAN RELEASE: TODAY


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