Kung Fu Panda


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Current Rating 8.13/10 | 8 Votes

Kung Fu Panda, an animated story about a panda, noodles, duty and laughter.  Kung Fu Panda made me “blind from an overexposure to awesomeness.” 

Po (Jack Black), a clumsy panda, son of a noodle vendor, dreams of meeting “The Ferocious Five.”   The Ferocious Five, composed of Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross) is a band of kung fu masters that protects the valley.  The Ferocious Five are led by their master, Shifu (Dustin Hoffman).  Fear of previous foe Tai Lung (Ian McShane) brings Po in direct contact with the Ferocious Five. 

The animation in Kung Fu Panda is phenomenal.  The lighting glimmered as the sun moved across the day.  I could almost feel most of textures on my fingers.  There are hysterical stop motion sequences that shamelessly draw the attention of the audience right into the story.  Dan Wagner, the head of character animation, earned every penny as the head character animator because the characters sparkled with life.  My one exception would be Tigress, often comes off flat.  All in all, my eyes were remarkably satisfied by the exceptionally beautiful animation.

The dialogue was equally pleasurable.  While there are a few one line jokes in Kung Fu Panda that come across my taste as sour apples, most of the script is bright and appealing.  Silly, memorable, and entertaining verbal parlays will make even the most serious in the audience chuckle out loud.  The plot takes every opportunity to sprinkle the delightful spices of sweetness and sincerity.  The characters were a bit shallow but considering the age of the target audience, the slightly less complex character development is appropriate.  Don’t be afraid though, the shoal nature of the plot doesn’t detract for adults.  It is a nourishing respite from any case of the doldrums and hum-bugs.

I find it important to watch and listen to children as they see a children’s movie, I’m not young enough to truly judge how good it is for a little one.  The youngsters responded in awe because Kung Fu Panda combines two things kids love, adorable animals and high jumping, fist flying, round house kicking martial arts.  As I scanned the audience, I saw seas of little smiling faces leaning forward, completely enraptured but more surprising was the look on the bigger faces.  Even the unaccompanied grown-ups looked like they wanted to cuddle the characters but hesitate out of fear of their martial arts skills. 

I was utterly surprised by the quality of the voice acting in Kung Fu Panda.  While none of the scenes are emotionally challenging, they are comedically challenging.  Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane each give such a glimmering energy to their characters, it made the entire movie a delightful story, easy to get lost in, and sure to rise your serotonin and dopamine levels. 

I think the most sociologically exposing movies a society creates are their children’s movies.   They always show the basest values of a society.  Kung Fu Panda’s message is one I love; “You’re good enough.”  Couple that with two butt kicking girls, Tigress and Viper, who don’t show their boobs or have ridiculously narrow waists and are treated just as equals to their male counterparts, I am so happy about what this movie says about us.

An unexpected surprise, Kung Fu Panda made me laugh audibly, it made giggle and made me hopeful.  Mostly, it just made me feel good as I found myself completely lost in the story.  I would suggest this movie only for those who enjoy lovely visuals punctuated with laughter.

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