By Ryan Parsons | Image property of DreamWorks Animation
Kung Fu Panda
It’s been a while! One of the most important things that has gone amiss in recent CG-animations is the medium’s ability to span the gap between children and adults. I think it was back in 2004 when both Shrek 2 and The Incredibles last showed us what that was like. Don’t get me wrong, Pixar’s Cars wasn’t necessarily bad, it was just that the film encountered the same troubles as many other non-Pixar CG-animations.
Kung Fu Panda caught my interest the second it was rumored that the film was like an animated Kill Bill. Wha?! That sounds great! Revenge, violence, action, comedy and redemption all in a single animation? Sounded too good to be true.
Fortunately, DreamWorks delivers.
Review: Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda follows Po, an overweight Panda who is forced to work for what we can assume to be his adoptive father in a noodle house. The only problem is that Po doesn’t dream of noodles like his father does, but instead dreams of joining a martial arts group known as the Furious Five. During a chance incident during a celebration to pick the next Dragon Warrior, Po somehow becomes the likely candidate. Hilarity ensues.
First off, I have to give DreamWorks a pat on the back for having Po be a Furious Five superfan. There are so many instances where Po can’t help contain his fandom while training with the group, all with humorous consequences. But the film isn’t all comedy, and actually contains a story deep enough to get involved in.
What makes the film great are the risky action sequences that push the envelope of violence. This film is for kids, right? Thanks to top notch CG-visuals, every martial arts sequence to be seen in the film should have both adults and kids drooling for more; never mind sitting on the edge of their seats. While the final bout goes by a bit too quick, the formula encountered in Kung Fu Panda has been long missed.
A rich story? It’s there. Great characters? Check. Smart dialogue? Some of the best. One character that will grow on you is the wise master turtle. Except for his opening piece of dialogue, every word to come out of the character’s mouth feels very precise and very polished. The kung fu master also delivers a line of wisdom that I will never forget. Very adult-oriented wisdom.
When it comes to everything one would come to expect, or should I say hope, from a great CG animation, Kung Fu Panda delivers. Your kids, if you got ‘em, will absolutely adore it and, if you short on the rug rats, this film is more than capable of entertaining the adults as well.