“Kung Fu Panda” is the story of a fat (is there any other kind?) panda that dreams about being an awesome kung fu warrior, and when given the chance, rises to the occasion. In-between those moments, we get plenty of fat jokes at the panda’s expense, and enough cartoon kung fu violence to, possibly, convince parents this may not be the right movie to be taking your very impressionable kids. Especially if said kids have a bad habit of using little sis as a punching dummy to try out his new “moves”.
The above said, Dreamworks’ “Kung Fu Panda” is a fun little movie, although “little” may be a bit of an exaggeration. Take a look at the voice cast: Jack Black as Po the panda, Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, and of course, the always incredible Ian McShane (of Deadwood fame) as the villainous Tai Lung. Which reminds me: I was never really sure why Tai Lung was supposed to be such a villain; as far as I can tell, his only qualification for the mantle is that he’s really good at kung fu, and he really, really wants that kung fu scroll that, when read, will endow the reader with incredible kung fu mastery. But to hear the movie talk about him, you would think the guy went around eating babies or some such.
But I digress.
In “Kung Fu Panda”, Jack Black voices Po, a happy-go-lucky panda who toils away in his father’s (voiced by the venerable James Hong, no less) noodle shop. His father dreams of passing on the family business, which includes the family’s secret ingredient noodle soup recipe to his son, but Po has other dreams – namely joining up with his idols, the five martial arts masters known as the Furious Five, and fighting the good fight against villainy and such. Alas, being a panda, he’s a bit, well, fat, and not all that coordinated. Or fast. Or able to climb a lot of stairs really fast. Because, you know, being fat and all. But as it turns out, Po’s secret weapon is none other than his appetite and prodigious belly, which comes in mighty handy when Tai Lung escapes his prison (guarded by 1,000 soldiers to Tai Lung’s singular prisoner) and seeks vengeance after 20 years of captivity..... read more