Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

In a Nutshell: Great fun! We really liked it a lot.

Quick Plot: Po, the "fluffy" panda, dreams of joining the Furious Five masters of kung fu in the Jade Palace, but his father wants him to take over their noodle house. When this untrained warrior wannabe is selected as the Dragon Warrior to defend the town, no on can believe it, especially Po. Can he master this martial art and save the village?

In Detail: We really did like this movie. The opening sequence had us just rolling! Those 5 minutes alone were worth the price of admission. We will never again use the word "awesomeness" without laughing. Most of you know that "typical" Jack Black films (like Nacho Libre) are not my cup of tea, and I was concerned that Kung Fu Panda would be "too Jack Black," but it wasn't at all. I thought he was great. The animation was quite good, and the kung fu sequences were amazing! They really spent a lot of time working on them, and it showed. (For those not aware, the Furious Five are based on the five main forms of kung fu: tiger, mantis, monkey, crane, and snake.) The plot is very straight forward; nothing unexpected except maybe how the final battle resolves, which was priceless. It was also a lot more serious than I was expecting. Not in a bad way, I just expected them to try and be funny all the time, but it really had a lot of heart and quiet moments as well, which to me was a very good thing. My one main criticism is that the other voice talents were very under-used. Why go after such big names if they don't have worthwhile parts? But that is about the only thing I could find wrong with it. Oh, and do stay for all of the credits. Not only is there a coda at the end, the "background" that is going on behind the credits actually fills in some small bits of the story. Nothing major, just little tidbits that were follow-ups to some things that has been left and not picked up again. It was very neat to see and made waiting for the coda very enjoyable.

Now, for those wondering if we will be taking the child to see it, the answer is no. It is not that I object to any of the content! From that perspective, in my opinion, it is fine for children. The problem is that, at age 3.5 (can you believe it?!), my child doesn't have the judgment not to "hi-ya" everything in sight, and I *know* that is what would happen. He would want to imitate what he saw on the screen, and I think he just needs to be a little older so that he doesn't hurt himself (or us, or the furniture, or the cats, or....). Give it a year or two, and it will be a great movie for him.

Will I Buy It? Yes! We'd buy it just for us, even if we didn't have a child.