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Kung Fu Panda June 10, 2008

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the near future, we will be inundated with animated films. You will see funny gangster films. Then there will be comical disaster flicks. After that it will be the turn of hilarious scary movies followed by sidesplitting torture porn. And the characters in all these films will obviously be talking animals.

Right now, it is the turn of the animated kung fu comedy. The animals are totally unnecessary except, of course, that they are needed to bring in the target audience and they certainly will.

The setting is new for animated films but the premise is very old. Po (the Panda) doesn’t want to join the family noodle-making business. Instead he dreams of becoming a kung fu master. Due to a surprising turn of events, Po is selected as the dragon warrior who will be “the one” to thwart the greatest threat to their town. Obviously he isn’t “fit” enough for the job and has no clue what he is doing. But as you can guess, he will get the job done in the end.

Despite the mostly positive reviews by critics, I didn’t warm to the film immediately. It felt like more of the same. Nothing novel or funny enough to get me hooked. But as the film progressed it did get better (particularly, after the Panda’s training session began) and it finally ended up entertaining me just enough to keep me from swearing off animated films for a while. I might have actually enjoyed a live action version of this film more (it is easier for a real human to put a smile on my face).

The best part of the film is the action. A few superbly choreographed and brilliantly animated action sequences provide the primary reason to watch this film. It isn’t easy for action to make the right impact in an animated film but the the technical team gets it right in this one and their work is praiseworthy. A major strength of many animated films, the voice cast in this film also is terrific. The best work is for the primary characters voiced by Jack Black (Po), Dustin Hoffman (Mater Shifu) and Ian McShane (Tai Lung). The others in the cast like Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen don’t get enough scope to impress.

If you’ve got kids, you are probably going to have to watch this film anyway and the kids will love it. If you are one of those who hasn’t yet had enough of the talking animal movies, you should love this one too. For those who might look for entertainment with more adult appeal, this film doesn’t have too much.


1. vallabh - July 7, 2008

I understand your aversion to talking animal movies and fortunately I don’t have that issue. I just find it as another facet of movie art and as long as it entertains me, I would actually appreciate the business if talking animals make more money for some.

So, for those who don’t mind talking animals, this movie entertains you with wittily funny dialogue (reminded me of Shrek) and brilliantly made action sequences and you will be entertained through-out the feature length. That’s all about this movie and that’s what kept me laughing and enjoying through-out. The plot was not an asset but the fun stuff didn’t let me bother much about it. This movie was reviewed as a slapstick comedy by some. However, there were no such unnecessary/intentional scenes in this movie. In fact, only a couple of scenes were necessary that some could wrongly perceive as slapstick comedy. Kids and adults, with still a kid in them, will enjoy this movie alike. And for most of the rest there’s WALL-E.

2. Shujath - October 20, 2008

I hardly see animation flicks…this was probably just the 3rd or 4th I’ve seen till date. I found it very entertaining but like you mentioned somewhere in your review a live-action version of this with exactly the same script would have been a much better bet.

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