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Caught a screening of "The Panda" and all I can say is wow! I took my 6
year old daughter, who has the attention span of a 6 year old, and she
wants to see it again. So do I!
Jack Black is not only half of the greatest band in the world, he is also a fine voice actor. His flawed character, Po the Panda is very refreshing. So is this film. After having to sit through the boring "Over the Hedge" and the last two "Shrek" messes, I really appreciated an animated feature form Dreamworks that didn't have too many celeb voices all competing for screen time. This is Jack Black's movie. He has 75% of the lines in the script and that is not a bad thing.
Don't just drop the kids off to see Kung Fu Panda. Go with them. I think it's one of those rare movies like The Incredibles and Finding Nemo that adults can enjoy as much as the kids.
After various 3D animated movies ranging from lacklustre "star" movies
("Madagascar"), boring tripe ("Shark Tale", "Bee Movie"), and
over-rated, over-hyped overkill ("Shrek"), Dreamworks can finally be
proud of a truly great film. (Sidebar: I actually enjoyed "Flushed
Away" and "Over The Hedge".) First, the bad. If I could complain about
ANYTHING it may be a few of the voices. Besides Po, Shifu and Oogway,
the rest of the cast seemed pretty 'phoned-in'. Thankfully, those
characters are pretty inconsequential so they're not really missed.
Now the good... or rather great. While classic kung fu movies are poked fun at, Kung Fu Panda does an excellent job of treating the genre with great respect in a movie geared towards kids. And while it IS kid friendly, it is not dumbed down to the point where it's childish. All the classic elements of those great kung fu flicks are there, while still keeping it pleasantly G-rated.
Let me get this out of the way: this movie has some of the greatest 3D animated fight scenes. Ever. What elevates them from good to great is that while I expected the unbelievable, gravity-defying stunts that are REQUIRED of a good kung fu movie, there is an amazing amount of 'realism' to the physics in this movie. Just watch the jailbreak and you'll understand.
Speaking of animation, the cinematography, character design and backgrounds are all done very, very well. Whether it's flying through the air alongside a leaping character, the painting-like backgrounds, or the wonderful opening sequence (reminiscent of Samurai Jack), they're all beautiful. Snap zooms, slow-motion, and flying cameras are also used with great skill to further the experience.
Even the music and sound is outstanding. Asian drums rumble in the background of intense fights... stones shatter and crumble away... fight sequences rise and fall with each of the music cues, or is that the other way around? Beautiful.
What helps make this a new classic in my eyes is what it doesn't have. There are no Matrix, Spiderman, or other dated references. There are no inside jokes related to the voice actors. There isn't even any double entendre or unnecessary crude humour. Much like "Finding Nemo" or "Monsters Inc", there's just plenty of pop-culture-free goodness that is terribly entertaining.
The last great part of this movie is often the most overlooked part of a good family film... heart. This movie has oodles of it. Other movies have tried to have a lesson in the end like 'be yourself' ("Shrek"), or 'the value of friends' ("Madagascar"), or... 'be yourself' ("Shark Tale"), but "Kung Fu Panda" has genuine cinematic moments with dialogue that carries real weight. Best line: Oogway regarding yesterday, tomorrow and today.
So, finally, as a complete sucker for Pixar animation, I'm glad that another animation company can actually put proper thought and execution into a FAMILY movie. What else can I say? Congratulations Dreamworks. 10 out of 10.
I was almost dreading seeing this movie - we won tickets to the screener and from the first scene I found myself laughing out loud. The movie is so much better than I thought it would be (and that was bad) - I expected the comedy to be slapstick/junior/potty but it wasn't. The story was also good enough to keep my kids focused glued to the screen. The animation is wonderful. Music is tasteful. I can't imagine anyone but Jack Black pulling off the voice though - he definitely made the movie for me. The only thing distracted me was that most of the movie I spent trying to figure out who was doing the voice of Tai Lung (Ian McShane). As mentioned previously in the forums about the pop culture references in this movie - I don't remember one - very nice indeed - it works with some of the other movies but I can do without. This is the first movie in a while I'd like to see again.
From the very beginning, Kung Fu Panda had me practically falling out
of my seat --- laughing. It was the perfect blend of comedy, heart, and
action, all necessary elements in a successful and great animation/CGI
film, in the tradition of The Incredibles and (less action, but
containing the heart and laughter) Ratatouille, Finding Nemo and
I took my wife and nephew and niece to see it on a Friday night and they enjoyed it, too! We were totally laughing, smiling, and guffawing at Po, the main protagonist (voiced by Jack Black) and his misadventures at becoming a Kung Fu expert. This was certainly a flawed character, one that a lot of people can relate to because he dreams, he's funny, and he can laugh at himself. Also, the story was pretty clear and easy to follow because the storytelling was well crafted, and the animation was paired well with characters brought vividly to life by some of the most famous names in Hollywood.
Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman are downright excellent as the main characters, and Ian McShane as the bad dude gave it the right fearful presence. Other big name stars don't shine as much, but that's because their roles are rather limited in the film. But that's still okay because the animators should be given equal credit (if not more) for delivering the funny, action and heart elements of this movie in an effective, amazing and (I've got to use this) AWESOME manner. Visually, this movie is stunning (notice all those scenic shots of the Chinese mountains, bodies of water, and the bridge scene; not to mention the action animation version of "The Matrix" with slow-mo)... simply a delight to watch.
It's clear that Dreamworks has gotten back in the animation game with Kung Fu Panda, after slight ho-hums in Shrek 3 and Bee Movie (call me crazy, but I liked Over The Hedge more than those two). Hopefully, it should earn well over $500M worldwide because it is so good.
This movie rightfully belongs in the top animation movies of all time (okay, let's not include the classic fairy tales of old; let's begin with the 90's onwards), alongside my faves "The Incredibles" "Finding Nemo" and "Beauty & The Beast." Has the makings of being a classic.
My wife and I enjoyed it so much that we saw it again the night after. And maybe another time... haha!
Like many others, I saw the "trailers" featuring Jack Black. The
featurette made me think "Okay, at least I got to check this out". Not
much more. It didn't make me think "This is gonna be awesome" or
anything like that.
Boy, was I ever under-expecting.
At first I thought it was quite okay, decent entertainment and at least not totally crap. But then the really funny scenes and details kicked in, after Po gets into the temple. From then on, it was laugh after laugh, excellent voice acting, amazing CG animation (but this is Dreamworks so I expected that).
The whole deal simply hit home run for me. Spot on. I love martial arts movies, I love Dreamworks CG movies and I must admit I find Jack Black amazingly funny (saw Be Kind Rewind the other day and loved it). There was so much charm and amusement in this movie. It's without doubt the best animation from Dreamworks since the first Shrek.
Now, I am not saying this will be for everyone. There IS a lot of fighting going on, and while it is (for most of the movie) comical (yet amazing to behold) violence, it might not be suitable for the smallest of children. But for any healthy kid aged 6-7 or above (especially boys), this will be kick-a**! I cannot really put my finger on anything bad. Sure, the movie is filled with clichés, but sometimes you can go a long way with those. And this one serves them perfectly. I even rated this higher than Ratatouille, due to the fact that it took me totally by surprise. With Ratatouille, I EXPECTED it to be great. Kung Fu Panda I only expected to be decent, but it was awesome. That deserves the last point.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I Love it! The story was great and the background was beautiful, it
really felt like an ancient Chinese city. This original story is one of
the best since Shrek. And the meaning behind the story may be even
better! The story is about Po, an overweight panda who is the son of a
noodle maker, who dreams of Po following in his footsteps. But Po longs
to be a ninja fighter. Po is as you know is a panda bear and the film's
unlikely hero: as the bigger than life and completely lovable bear
voiced by the comic genius Jack Black. Po is a Sweet but clumsy, bear
who hears the news the ancient and long awaited dragon warrior will be
named, so he runs (as much as he can) to hear who will be named at the
Without giving too much away, when an "accident" seems to name Po as the dragon warrior (much to the horror of Master Shifu (voiced perfectly by Dustin Hoffman) and the disappointment of Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Crane (David Cross) and Monkey (Jackie Chan). Shifu must find a way to train him. One hilarious moment after another continues until Shifu recognizes Po's true driving force. This is just in time as the villain Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a snow leopard has returned as he believe is the true Dragon Warrior.
I can not recommend this movie enough. Certainly this is marketed for the kids but the whole family will enjoy it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really wasn't expecting much, other than a few laughs, which would
have been OK for a Dreamworks animation movie. But KUNG FU PANDA
exceeded all expectations. The story is simple but the execution is
superb. It would be really difficult to find something to improve on
the production. The voice-overs are really good, esp Jack Black and
Dustin Hoffman. The animation is very rich and the colors are crisp and
bright. The action sequences are breath-taking. The laughs are mixed in
at the appropriate moments. The theater was full and it was composed of
a mixture of Adults and young kids. This is a fun for all movie. A
testament to this fact is that almost the whole crowd stayed for the
end credits. This is a very rare occurrence nowadays.\
Oh.. and I hope this does not count as a spoiler. I absolutely loved the Samurai-Jack type animation for some scenes.
(Synopsis) Kung Fu Panda is the story of Po, (voice Jack Black), a
sweet, but clumsy Panda who has dreams of fighting with the legendary
Furious Five and protecting the city against all threats. The only
problem is that Po has no real life experience of kung fu, and his real
job is serving noodles at his dad's noodles shop. News of selecting the
Dragon Warrior is sent out from the Jade Temple, and the whole city
along with Po, go to the celebration. The competition is between the
Furious Five: Tigress (voice Angelina Jolie), Viper (voice Lucy Liu),
Crane (voice David Cross), Monkey (voice Jackie Chan), and Mantis
(voice Seth Rogen). Po accidentally enters the contest and is named the
Dragon Warrior. Master Shifu (voice Dustin Hoffman) must find a way to
train Po and make him a Kung Fu Master, especially, after they learn
that the snow leopard, Tai Lung (voice Ian McShane), is headed their
(My Comment) This is a cute animated comedy that also inspires lessons in life. The audience can relate to people who have dreams of doing the impossible, just as Po. Po ultimately learns that if he believes in himself, he can do anything. Jack Black (Po) and Dustin Hoffman (Shifu) voices were just right for their parts, and the chopstick fight between them is fantastic. Ian McShane (Tai Lung) was also wonderful as the villain, and his battle sequence on the rope bridge is spectacular. This film is for the whole family, because adults will enjoy the movie just as much as their children. (DreamWorks, Run Time 1:28, Rated PG)
I saw this movie in the Cinema last night. I can not recommend this
movie highly enough to kids of all ages. it is a long, long time since
i have heard a Cinema audience laughing so much during a movie ( i
think the last time was during Gigli!).
Finally Dreamworks have managed to surpass the achievements of Pixar. All the elements are beyond anything i have seen in an Animated movie since The Lion King. the animation is hugely detailed and achingly beautiful, the script is the best i have come across in years. the only bum note in this symphony of fun is the fact that some of the immensely talented voice cast are badly underused. i can only remember hearing Jackie Chan's voice 3 times at most. having said that, the movie rests on the shoulders of jack Black and Dustin Hoffman. while playing their parts in a very different manner to each other, both are note perfect. they invest their characters with an energy (Black) and dignity (hoffman) that i could not find any fault with, even if i wanted to, not that i want to.
Lastly, i believe that Oogway is the best animated character ever rendered, his facial expressions are hilarious and-surpass any previous attempts to give a character convincing facial expressions (i consider Gollum to be a CG character, not an animated character, for the record).
in short, this is an utterly fantastic movie that everyone should watch 9/10
After the disappointing SHREK 3 and the only "cute" OVER THE HEDGE,
DreamWorks Animation finally delivers another highlight to the CGI
I got used to the rather simple story of MADAGASCAR after watching it again, I really liked SHREK and even more SHREK 2 (am I the only one?). I never liked the cultural references they built in, because I think they only work in their time (but in their time they worked great!). So for me KUNG FU PANDA is the first great "classic" DWA film. Go see it, it also works for adults. If you have seen some of the classic martial arts film (Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee etc) you will even more enjoy it. The voice talent of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane is perfectly used. The other voices are OK.
It will be a big hit for DWA, north of 200 millions domestic, eventually even 300 mil.
That said, my favorite CGI's are 1. THE INCREDIBLES, 2. RATATOUILLE and 3. FINDING NEMO and closely followed by KUNG FU PANDA. Looking forward to seeing KFP an second time and then maybe it will become my new Nr. 3.
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