Saturday, June 7, 2008

Kung Fu Panda...The Review...

So, people like to bring carry out into the theatre now. I walk in and sit down to watch this flick, and I am shocked to see a group of like 30 people sit right behind me, open up a styrofoam box thing, and start munching on food. Kung Pow chicken needs to stay the hell out of the theatres. They also sounded like parrots on crack when they laughed, but thats not why I'm here. Here's what I thought of the Jack Black vehicle, Kung Fu Panda.

Kung Fu Panda is the story of a chubby Panda, Po (Jack Black). Po is a lazy noodle chef, who has a massive love for Kung Fu. One day, the local Kung Fu Master, Master Shifu, and a wise old turtle, Oogway, are forced to pick the person who will be the Dragon Warrior, the greatest Kung Fu Master of them all. He is forced to do this, as one of Master Shifu's former students, Ti Lan, escapes from prison. At the end of the fanfare, Oogway gets up to pick the DW, and it is none other than our hero, Po. This forces Shifu and the Furious Five (a group of trained kung fu masters), to do the impossible. Train a panda to do kung fu.

So, what was good about this flick. Well, there is quite a bit to talk about. The biggest thing is the look of this film. This is an absolutely gorgeous film. It comes from Dreamworks, the studio behind the Shrek films, and this looks a billion times better than those movies. The thing with animation is, you can't do photo realistic yet. Shrek tried, and it looked like garbage, Beowulf tried, worked for the most part, but still flawed. This film doesn't go for that look, and it really works. The action scenes also look stunning, if really really repetative. This is like the 300 for the Barney set. Hell, the normally boring opening to Dreamworks flicks, the little guy fishing on the moon, was done brilliantly. Also, the thing that I thought the studio did well, was they nullified the normal reasons why I hate Jack Black. While there are moments, he is normally subdued (or as much as Jack Black can be), and that makes Po more loveable. You feel a sense of sympathy for him, and thats needed in this story, whose moral basis is self esteem, and believing in yourself. Overall, this film was good, but there were a couple of flaws.

The biggest problem I had was the voice acting. The thing I don't get with Dreamworks and other studios who do animation, is why do you need big stars to be in your film? Take Pixar for example. This studio bases their voice acting on the character, as their biggest star has probably been Tom Hanks in the Toy Story films. In Kung Fu Panda, the biggest star, Angelina Jolie, barely talks, and I couldn't really even tell it was her. This isn't really a problem with the film, it's just something that bugs me. I can't get out of the fact that that is Angie doing a quadruple backflip and then kicking a guy in the face. Then again, the four year old this is marketed at doesn't know who she is, so I'm just out of the demographic. This film, while gorgeous, isn't very original. It's really just a mash up of, The Matrix, The Madagascar Movies, old Bruce Lee movies, and a moral. There's a little bit of lazy writing, some cheap jokes, and an unoriginal premis, but that said, this was the briskest 92 minutes I've had in a long time, so it's still a good movie.

Where do I come out on this? While flawed, this is still a solid animation film from a normally lackluster studio, and it's a perfect kids movie. Go see it, and if you have a kid, you should already be there.

Grade: C+

Alright guys, that's all I have for right now.

I need to apologize to Bryan Bertino, the director of The Strangers. That movie WAS really solid. Everyone, if you haven't seen it yet, give it a shot. It's the guys first movie, and after reading a great article he wrote for Moviemaker magazine, I have a lot of respect for the guy. It's not an amazing movie, but if you can't handle Funny Games, but like the plot, check The Strangers out.



  1. Could you expound on your comment about Funny Games and The Strangers?

  2. MovieMaker MagazineJune 09, 2008 10:33 AM

    Thanks for the mention of MovieMaker's article, Josh. It really is an inspiring piece for aspiring filmmakers, so if anyone's interested in checking it out, you may do so at:

    It's also in the current FUTURE OF MOVIEMAKING special edition of MovieMaker (with Robert Rodriguez on the cover).


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