quarternotes’s Full Review: Kung Fu Panda
Going to a theater to watch a movie before it comes out on a DVD is a rarity anymore. Most viewers enjoy the comforts of home and appreciate the value of watching a movie in their own spare time by either purchasing or renting a DVD. This has in the past been the usual approach to my reviews, watching the movie more than once, going through the credits, finding the producer’s name, etc.. Through this normal procedure, I missed out on an opportunity long since lost since my last encounter with a theater. The fun of actually going to one. Laughter is very addictive and can be easier contracted through smaller people. This was no acception to the rule watching this movie in a theater with scores of 4-14 year olds. I actually laughed out loud several times, (which, in essence, is a rarity in itself), finally realizing what I have been missing for years. This movie made this part of this review a blessing . I yearn to do this again.
It was not until I was actually invited to watch KUNG FU PANDA at IMAX, a state-of-the-art theater that has giant flat screens that soar up to eight stories high and are designed to encompass your peripheral vision, that i had the chance to review an actual movie in a theater.
I nearly forgot how exciting it was to listen to the audience, as well as me, laugh at this CGI animated story about PO,(voiced by Jack black), a day-dreaming, clumsy panda that works with his father,(a duck), in a noodle cart.
PLOT (in more than minor detail).
Often dreaming of becoming a world-class martial arts fighter, PO’s dreaming of becoming a martial arts kung fu fighter comes to a halt when he learns that the “dragon master” will be chosen and he wants to see who gets picked. Setting a demonstration in the middle of the village, Oogway, a very wise and old turtle, (and the ultimate martial arts teacher), (voiced by Randall Duk Kim)), has to pick an ultimate fighter that will defend the village against a village fighter, Tai lung, (voiced by Ian Mcshane), that was imprisoned for his evil doings.
Although the village has a good idea on which one of the five top fighters should be picked, (Tigress, voiced by Angelina Jolie), there are four others who show promise, like The Monkey,(voiced by Jackie Chan),Mantis(voiced by Seth Rogen), Viper, (voiced by Lucy Liu), and Crane(voiced by David Cross).
Shifu,(voiced by Dustin Hoffman), is a red panda that has taught Kung fu under the guidance of Oogway. He has been teaching “the fab five” fighters for years under the command of Oogway and thinks one of his students, preferrably Tigris, would be suited best for the job of becoming dragon master, a decree credited to the very best martial artist. He has a degree of responsibility in the recent conflict over the last student, (Tai lung), and blames himself over the outcome of his last promising student, the snow lion with extraordinary skills in the martial arts. In contrary to master Oogway’s decision, he is forced to teach kung fu to one of the hardest students he ever had to endure teaching.
Jealousy, along with confusion about the main choice of the new dragon master, often overcomes the other five top students of kung Fu, and often they determine that no one outside their league should’ve been picked. What will happen next? Did Master Oogway make the right decision? Will the village be saved from the strongest fighter to walk the village? Watch this movie an find out, you won’t be dissapppointed.
Angela Jolie showed more than a little promise portraying Tigris, pulling out emotion as well as character through her an CGI animated character. Although I honestly couldn’t tell that Dustin Hoffman’s character was actually a red panda, his warm voice credited the character with a since of heart, as well as a since of being short-fused. Jack Black did a superb job ,along with the writers, determining the lines as well as the emotions “PO” used during the film, often coming out with one-liners to devastating plots, making this funnier than the average slap-stick jokes and came out on screen truely as the gift to this movie. Jackie Chan never had a chance to show promise, only speaking maybe two lines in the whole movie, but no one else was deserving more to play the monkey. This is a winner for me, as well as the other 100 kids I had the opportunity to hear laugh during this movie. A must-watch in theaters.
Movie Mood: Feel-good Movie
Viewing Method: Studio Screening/Premiere
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Music