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Kung Fu Panda

A 2008 Dreamworks Animation Movie directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne

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Prepare for AWESOMENESS!

  • Jun 7, 2011
Rating:
+3
*** out of ****

artial arts cinema is nearly dead. It dies slowly. And it will die for some time now. I know why the world is so cruel to the genre. In order to satisfy the audience built for a martial arts film, you must be a master at directing such things. You cannot entertain merely with fights generated through CGI animation. This is because people want to be involved. People want a movie that expresses the troubles as well as the strengths of a warrior. This kind of movie is- as I said- quite difficult to pull off.

"Kung Fu Panda", Dreamwork's 2008 contribution, is entertaining in the sense that films like "The Karate Kid" are entertaining, fun to watch, and engaging. It involves a trainer and his trainee; bonding in the most unexpected ways, both coming from an unexpected back-ground. This realization that I had about "Kung Fu Panda" does not make it a great animated film, but it does make it a rather impressive one.

Dreamworks is losing their head these days. They've made stuff like "Shrek", and then stuff like "Shark Tale". Somewhere in-between lies movies like "Kung Fu Panda"; which are good, not great, and at the same time, far from bad. "Kung Fu Panda" has enough charm, humor, and wit to overcome its flaws, and I must say; it both honors and satirizes Kung Fu/martial arts cinema. And it also does both of those things in a stylish, colorful fashion.

So let's get down to it. China is currently at peace, and has been ever since a fearsome warrior-turned-vicious killing machine named Tai Lung (Ian McShane) was silenced and imprisoned by his own master and creator, Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). Ever since, Shifu, a Red Panda, has trained five warriors, making up the "Furious Five". The "five" consists of Tigris (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Crane (David Cross), and Master Monkey (Jackie Chan). Each warrior is trained, powerful, and possesses unending will.

Every thousand years, however, a new "Dragon Warrior" is chosen by the highest master, who is Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim). An ambitious, Kung-Fu loving Panda named Po (Jack Black), son of a noodle-shop owner (who is, somehow, a goose, and yet remains Po's father), heads up to the ceremony to watch the warrior get picked, ends up screwing 'round with some fire-works, and falls out of the sky and onto the figurative "stage".

And then he is chosen as the warrior. Oogway believes it is fate, although Shifu and the Five doubt that Po can be the Dragon Warrior. He's a fate, flabby, lazy Panda who has only had dreams of warriors and Kung Fu. He's the kind of character that does not come from a back-ground suited for such ambitions, although with films like these, there is a teacher, and he is determined to, well, teach.

Po is trained by Shifu, and in time, he is combatant, intelligent, and worthy of being a true warrior. He has been trained to stop Tai Lung, who has escaped from prison, and now intends on wreaking havoc on all of China. Tai Lung also seems to want vengeance on Shifu for his child-hood, as well as Oogway's denial (that he was the Dragon Warrior). What do you get out of a story like this? Well, not so much a story, but more-so a movie.

I loved the look of the film, which gets a lot of influence from Chinese folklore and geography. Of course, it's fun to look at, and sometimes even looks beautiful. In terms of animation, this is Dreamwork's most complex work to date. In terms of story, well, it lacks the emotional punch of "Shrek", but I liked what was on display here. Also, Hans Zimmer's inspired score is interesting and sometimes magical; whimsical, and definitely enjoyable to listen to. Just take my word for it.

"Kung Fu Panda" is wonderfully animated, beautifully conceived, funny, and smarter than you may think. The title pretty much explains it all, and this movie has ambitions to be "awesome". It is, perhaps, "awesome" on its own right. It's appealing, fresh entertainment for the entire family; short enough to entertain kids, sly enough to attract adults, and pretty enough (to look at) for anyone to admire, really. It's not animated gold, but I give it a recommendation, for Jack Black's wonderful vocal performance as Po, the energetic and exciting action sequences, and the admirable influence that is within the film, rather than written all over the exterior.

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June 09, 2011
tons of laughs and some touching moments make this one of the best action comedies dreamed up by dreamworks...nice work! I need to write a review on this....
 
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More Kung Fu Panda reviews
review by . January 22, 2011
If you will permit me to share something about myself, I am very close with my dad and my brothers and every father's day, we all go to the movies. For the Father's Day of 2008, we picked Kung Fu Panda and boy did I love it. Not only did I absolutely love it, it's actually my second favourite Dreamworks movie and it's one of my favourite animated movies of all time. The cast is wonderful, the animation is lovely, and its a true underdog story. All this and more make this one of the …
review by . September 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Modern Classic All the Way
   I’ll admit that I usually shy away from films that seem to be showered in hype.  I like to march to the beat of my own drum when it comes to discovering an under-appreciated gem and yet still found myself intrigued by the glowing opinions surrounding DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda.  Sure Jack Black was decent in Shark Tale and Eastern Philosophy would probably naturally lend itself to the notion of martial arts masters who just so happen to be adorable talking animals …
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
what can i say iam a big kid at heart..... i love this and iam 23 years old ha-ha lol
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
This film is really cute... Jack Black and Angelina Jolie are marvelous in it...
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I took my girls to see this movie and they laughed and so did I. I would love to see it again!
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
this is a great family movie. ALSO SHOWS THAT NO MATTER THE OUTSIDE A perrence you can do it.
Quick Tip by . March 10, 2010
This was a very funny movie, not just for kids. Everyone can relate and enjoy.
review by . October 10, 2009
Kung Fu Panda is a story about a fat and lazy panda, named Po, who loves Kung Fu and is tired of his boring life spending all day working in his father's noodle shop. Po is unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po's dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five - Tigress, Viper, Mantis, Crane and Monkey - under the leadership of their Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard …
review by . October 10, 2009
Kung Fu Panda is a story about a fat and lazy panda, named Po, who loves Kung Fu and is tired of his boring life spending all day working in his father's noodle shop. Po is unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po's dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five - Tigress, Viper, Mantis, Crane and Monkey - under the leadership of their Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard …
review by . March 21, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Having written quite a few reviews on Amazon over the years, I've gotten rather strict with what products I give five stars. One recent exception to my new, stricter rule is Dreamworks' Kung Fu Panda.  My wife took our daughter to see this at the movies while I stayed at home with our youngest child. I must admit that I envied my wife when she walked out of the house to see the film, for it had peaked my interest with its commercials and trailers. When it arrived on DVD, my wife picked it up …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Wiki

What's a panda to do when his dreams of kung-fu awesomeness awake to the cold reality of noodle-making? Clumsy, overweight Po (Jack Black) dreams of becoming a kung fu master like China's revered "furious five," but instead seems destined to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in the restaurant business. When great leader Oogway has a vision that the imprisoned kung fu warrior Tai Lung (Ian McShane) will soon escape, he declares it time to choose China's dragon warrior--one kung fu master deemed worthy of possessing the dragon's scroll and its secret to limitless power. Po and all the townspeople rush to the Jade Palace atop the highest mountain to witness the contest between Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogan), Crane (David Cross) and Viper (Lucy Liu), but Po is locked outside the palace. After a miracle of sorts, Po lands inside the palace gates, where he is chosen as the dragon warrior and placed under the tutelage of the decidedly non-plussed master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). An unconventional student to say the least, hilarity reigns as Shifu tries desperately to make Po into some semblance of a kung fu warrior. Can Po possibly fulfill his destiny as dragon warrior, or was Oogway's final decision a critical mistake? A film rich with hilarious moments, superior animation, and an important message about believing in oneself and the power that comes from within,Kung Fu Pandais great entertainment ...
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Details

Genre: Family
Release Date: June 6, 2008, June 6, 2008
DVD Release Date: November 8, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 31min
Studio: Dreamworks Animated
First to Review

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