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Kung Fu Panda

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

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A Modern Classic All the Way

  • Sep 6, 2010
Rating:
+5

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 but come on! It can’t be that great, right?  Wrong!

Until picking up Kung Fu Panda, I was pretty thoroughly convinced that aside from Shrek, DreamWorks was doomed to play second fiddle to Pixar in the world of computer generated animated feature films.  Kung Fu Panda manages to combine story originality, magnificent visuals and genuine humor so flawlessly that it is much to Pixar’s detriment that they have nothing to offer in terms of competition.

KFP tells the tale of Po (Jack Black); a panda that works in a noodle restaurant owned by his father Mr. Ping (James Hong), who just so happens to be a goose. Po is a kung fu fanatic with secret dreams of becoming a great master in the discipline despite no prior training and a body style that favors weight and clumsiness.

The tortoise Master Oogway (played brilliantly by Randall Duk Kim) has a premonition that the evil snow leopard Tai Lung (Ian McShane), the former student of his own protégé, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), will escape from prison and return to threaten the Valley of Peace.

Oogway orders a formal ceremony to choose the Dragon Warrior, a supreme master of kung fu and the one who can defeat the lethal Tai Lung should the premonition come to pass. It is assumed that one of the Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross) will be chosen for this honor.

Po, in attempt to simply spectate the event, finds himself smack dab in the middle of the ceremony. Oogway, surprised by the panda’s sudden appearance, designates him the Dragon Warrior and hence Po is immediately in way over his head.

It’s tough to come up with anything new to add to a film that has already been so thoroughly praised since its inception but that’s no excuse for me to refrain from trying.  I was quite dazzled with Kung Fu Panda’s solid homages to classic kung fu movies while simultaneously brining an original and attention-worthy story to the table.  Pacing, plot structure, and character development are all top notch through and through and the humor, which is often so natural as to appear nearly unintentional, is the icing on the proverbial cake.

It is often suggested that DreamWorks tends to release in quantity what Pixar does in quality but every once in a while a DreamWorks production manages to raise the bar for all of the other studios to attempt to follow.  The stars aligned a decade ago when Shrek was released and it would seem the studio has managed to find that magic once again in Kung Fu Panda.

A Modern Classic All the Way A Modern Classic All the Way A Modern Classic All the Way

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September 07, 2010
YES this is with out a doubt a classic, one of the best to come out. I can't wait for part 2, Van Damme is in that one as master Croc I think.
 
September 06, 2010
excellent review! I loved this movie! It was fun, filled with the atmosphere of martial arts mysticism, homages to classic martial arts movies and effective slapstick comedy! Man, I do need to review this for sure. So...where's the review for Batman Under The Hood? I eagerly await that one. Thanks, Jason! I'll be back....
 
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More Kung Fu Panda reviews
review by . June 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** 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 …
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 …
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

Ranked #14
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … 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

"Pandamonium"
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