Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Kung Fu Panda
2008 flick by directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson (who haven't done much else, outside of a few Spongebob episodes). Po is a good hearted, clumsy, accident prone, overweight panda living w/ his dad upstairs from the noodle shop they run together. Po is a HUGE fan of the furious five, a group of great kung fu artists who live in a temple on a mountain top above Po's village. They live in a very different place than Po, both physically and metaphysically. His life is very normal and he idolizes their life of excitement. His restlessness reaches it's peak when the master of the temple announces that he plans to chose the dragon warrior (aka, the best kung fu SOB there is). In reality the master is choosing this dragon warrior b/c a disgruntled ex-student(Tai Long) who thought he should be the dragon warrior is returning to bring vengeance and destruction to the temple and village and to steal the dragon scroll. In other words, they need a suitable opponent and fast. Well the master chooses Po when Po literally falls into the competition. Problem is, Po is as far from a kung fu master as it gets. Kung Fu Panda is a funny, uplifting story about an unlikely hero. It's not all that inventive and you know how it's going to turn out. But it seems to me the goal of a kid's flick is not to be inventive and surprising per se, but to be enjoyable and this one certainly is. The two leads are voiced by Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman. They are just wonderful and really seem to have comedic chemistry. Jack Black is hilarious as a supposed dragon warrior who looks more like the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons than he does Bruce Lee. And Dustin Hoffman's great as the yoda-esque elder sensei. The crude humor's at a minimum and the violence is pretty few and far between for a movie w/ the words Kung Fu in the title. If you have kids, they'll surely enjoy it and I'm guessing if you like good but easy comedy you'll enjoy every second too. It's not a classic, but it's definitely worth a watch.