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DVD Review: Secrets of the Furious Five

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Dreamworks is selling Kung Fu Panda in a special two-pack with Secrets of the Furious Five for a limited time. What is touted as an extra movie of sorts, is really just a glorified bonus disc that could’ve very well been included in a special two-disc version of the movie.

The Show

The main feature on the Secrets of the Furious Five disc is a 24-minute movie where now master Po (voiced by Jack Black), is training the village children (bunnies) to become kung fu warriors. But, instead of the kicking butt Po teaches the little ones about the intangibles of kung fu.

He tells them the stories of each of the Furious Five. What they were like before they were warriors, and that kung fu is more about the mind and heart than that of the fists and feet.

None of the Furious Five were great from the beginning. Each of them had to learn hard lessons to get to their rightful places as kung fu masters. Mantis had to learn patience. Viper had to master courage. Tigress learned discipline. Monkey found compassion. Crane gained confidence.

Most of the feature is filmed in the type of 2D animation that appears at the beginning of Kung Fu Panda in Po’s dream sequence. There is some 3D animation of Po talking to the children, but not much. It’s a well-done little feature. It teaches children some nice lessons in ways that are simple to understand.

The Special Features

“Po’s Power Play” is a special feature that contains a few games and a section where you can learn to draw the characters. You control the games with your DVD remote, which is easy enough especially the game “Dumpling Shuffle” where you have to follow shuffling bowls hoping to keep track of the dumpling.

The “Learn to Draw” section has its ups and downs. Actually there is only one positive thing about this section. When you click on the part that lets you learn how to draw Po you get one of the actual artists who draws Po for you and if you wanted, you could follow along. It’s extremely informative, and it’s great fun to see him create Po from essentially two round balls. The rest of the characters are not drawn by real artists. Lines are just flashed up on the screen while a voiceover tells you what to do. It’s hardly worth your time.

The “Land of the Panda” section contains quite a few features, but only a few are worth it. “Inside the Chinese Zodiac” is a fun, informative little feature that lets you find out what sign you are, and information about that sign. “Animals of Kung Fu” explains where the different styles of kung fu came from, and why animals were chosen to represent them. “Do You Kun Fu” is a short segment where children, who have been trained in certain styles of kung fu, show you the basics. This is a fairly informative section, and will be well received by your kids.

Ending Thoughts

This is a fun little disc, but it comes in its own DVD case (which takes up more room) and it’s not actually another movie. I think this disc would be better suited to just be included with Kung Fu Panda in its normal case. Then it could be a two-disc special edition. I can see Dreamworks releasing an edition like that in the future, which is a shame because they should have done it this time. There’s no reason this disc deserves its own case or deserves to be billed as an extra movie.

Having said all that, this is a cute little feature that teaches some good lessons. It has some worthwhile special features, and is a nice companion to the full-length feature movie.

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