Reviews

Kung Fu Panda

3

It’s tough being a cartoon in a world where everyone is waiting for WALL.E. Like being in a band when The Beatles became huge, attention is elsewhere. Kung Fu Panda, though – this summer’s first big ’toon – won’t struggle to be heard. Why? Because it stars Jack Black, a man unaware of subtlety.

In DreamWorks’ Pixar-challenger, Black voices Po, a fat, lazy panda who likes to spend his days dreaming of the Furious Five – a quintet of kung fu master animals (Tigress, Viper, Monkey, Crane, Mantis) taught the art of the old ‘Hi-yah!’ by mousey Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). But when hilarious old-codger turtle Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) has a senior moment and appoints Po as the chosen one to fight big-cat baddie Tai Lung (Ian McShane), his “There are no mistakes!” mantra seems naïve at best.

Packing in moves that will make kung fu fans froth, Panda is a wild training-then-fighting film that live-action martial arts movies could never replicate. From the chaos of Tai Lung’s escape from an ultra-high-security prison to the fire/spikes/chopsticks lessons dished out to Po, there are constant stunts and tricks. What’s more, having a goose be the lead’s dad is just one example of the sharp humour within. Oft surreal, occasionally inspired.

Such a shame, then, that the Furious Five amount to so little. Featuring the talents of Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan (liberated from his fiftysomething body as Monkey) and Seth Rogen, their roles are either peripheral or pointless. Cute, sure, but simply an excuse to topline the cast with A-listers.

 

So it’s Black’s film and Po fully embeds his persona – only one ‘Rock!’ pose from the actor in a bear suit. Like Homer Simpson with his boxing tactic of getting pummelled a lot, Black’s Po is a likeable, shambolic creation. Pity about the persistent use of “Awesomeness!”, though. Because it’s a word that should’ve been left behind in 1991…

Verdict:

A decent bridge before the wonder of WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda will thrill kids and fight nuts alike. Shame the big names are underused and there's nothing particularly new, but it does star the best turtle since Michelangelo. Awesomeness! Whoops...

Film Details

User Reviews

    • mallardb

      Dec 18th 2008, 15:07

      4

      Funny, great plot and good animation. If Dreamworks keep this up then Pixar may start getting nervous

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    • captainchod

      Feb 25th 2009, 15:16

      4

      Thought it would be bobbins, but it was excellent. Very funny throughout and really well done fight scenes.

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    • graham6

      Mar 22nd 2009, 14:11

      4

      It's really funny, and Jack Black was a great voice casting as Po. I enjoyed it more on the second viewing though. This isn't as good as other Dreamworks films, but it's still pretty good!

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    • randomsmartie

      May 6th 2009, 14:05

      4

      I liked the film alot and the storyline was very good. The use of Animation is fantastic, although I think they shouldv'e given voice actors like Jackie Chan more lines in the movie. It wasn't as funny as I first anticipated, as I know some of Jack Black's work, but overall a very clever and exciting film. Bring on the next film, Dreamworks!

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    • Chrisic

      Aug 6th 2009, 17:15

      4

      An animation inspiration, Kung Fu Panda is Dream Works' most magical tale to date. Tremendously heartwarming and a true family entertainment experience with Jack Black plucking all the right strings, in a role destined only for him. The Kung Fu masters voiced by some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Seth Rogen are a perfect comedy clash and bounce off one another sublimely. Yet the presence of Lucy Liu and Jacky Chan is a mere novelty considering the two rarely get a line. Kung Fu Panda couldn't be more perfect for the kids with it's incorporated messages that may even seep through to the hearts of the adults. Dare I put Kung Fu's unlikely hero just a noodles width above our Green eared friend? Yes. The best Dream Work's since the first Shrek and on a par with Pixar's Wall-E.

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    • madrox

      Aug 2nd 2010, 14:11

      3

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    • glegs

      Apr 18th 2011, 10:57

      5

      Freaking awesome.

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    • eugenerobinson

      Jun 20th 2012, 15:44

      5

      Very Nice Movie... New documentary announcement! A biography on the life of World renowned grandmaster Pui Chan. Step into the extraordinary life of a Chinese immigrant who overcame the challenges to achieve the American dream. This biography follows the path of a young boy who learns the value of hard work and perseverance through kung fu training. He escapes the harshness of political oppression, bravely ventures out on his own, and embraces opportunity in a new land. The now highly recognized Grandmaster Pui Chan is one of the pioneers responsible for bringing traditional kung fu to America. He built the first kung fu temple in America, and leads an internationally renowned martial arts system across the world. Pui's eldest daughter and successor Mimi Chan confronts a new set of challenges, trying to keep the traditional values alive in an increasingly modernized era. If this sounds interesting please visit, www.Facebook.com/puichankungfupioneer and www.wahlum.com/kungfumovie

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