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Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda

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My 10-year-old is currently working on his senior red belt in karate, so when we started seeing trailers for Kung Fu Panda I knew it wouldn’t be long before we’d have to see it. Sure enough, opening weekend arrived and we took our seats.

I’m a big fan of kids’ cartoon movies (I’m really looking forward to Wall E), but I wasn’t too sure of this one. Jack Black can be hit or miss with me, and I really wasn’t aware that Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, and Angelina Jolie were involved with the movie until the end credits rolled. The voices sounded familiar, but that’s not unusual given the quality of voice work these days.

The opening montage of the movie made me sit up and take notice at once. The artwork alone was worth the price of admission to me, and if they’d produced the movie in that format, it would have been interesting to see what kind of reaction reviewers would give the finished product.

The movie quickly settles into predictability, but it’s a pleasant trip and I was satisfied. My son was ecstatic as he watched the events unfold. He wasn’t surprised at the plot’s twists and turns either, but the bright color, rapid pacing, and quick action is mesmerizing for the adult mind, as well.

Po, the Kung Fu panda of the title, works in his father’s noodle kitchen. His father is a goose. The explanation for that is never given, though it is a distraction during a more serious moment when Po’s father reveals an important secret to him. Black provides a great vocal characterization of Po and I found myself rooting for him even though I knew he didn’t really have anything to worry about.

The villain sequences were actually chilling. Seeing Tai Lung (Ian McShane) held in prison was impressive when you realized what he had to escape from in order to become the all-encompassing threat our hero would have to deal with. The darkness and threat of those scenes might cause some concern for younger children, but I loved the cinematography and the amazing choreography of Tai Lung’s escape.

The unwillingness of the Furious Five to embrace Po as a student is as predictable as his eventual winning them over, but the pacing makes that easy to absorb and enjoy. The relationship between Shifu (Hoffman) and Oogway is warm and moving, and the scene where the great turtle ascends to the Celestial Heavens is powerful.

After everyone learns that Tai Lung has escaped and is once more menacing the countryside, the Furious Five launch into interception mode and go after him. Again, the fight sequences are huge and enjoyable, truly knockout efforts, but it’s no surprise that they’re defeated.

Shifu takes Po off for lesson and the sequence where Po becomes the Dragon Warrior is a lot of fun. Still, after Po is trained and ends up getting the Dragon Scroll (which is gotten with Oogway’s staff in a marvelous little puzzle piece), everything still looks like they’re going to lose anyway.

While helping the villagers abandon town, Po speaks to his father and gains an incredible insight that causes him to stand his ground against Tai Lung. I have to admit the thinking behind this reveal wasn’t all that deep, but it was effective, and it proved to be the catalyst that brings about the battle between Po and Tai Lung. That fight is a great one, and even though I knew Po would win, I still found myself sitting on the edge of my seat. My son was doing the same thing.

Kung Fu Panda doesn’t break any new ground when it comes to children’s animated entertainment, but it sure serves up a feast that hits the spot. This is one you’ll enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the kids, then again when it comes out on DVD.

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About Mel Odom

  • Briony

    I thought it was excellent and so did my class. It was really funny.

  • JavAnd Abdo

    We watched “Kung Fu panda” last Friday. We think this movie is suitable for all age, Kida and adults. It is very funny and some times it’s very serious. It’s combination between comedy and action. We watched this movie as a group of classmates and everyone was very satisfied and happy.
    Kung fu panda and Ice Age are very similar. Although Kung Fu Panda is more popular because there are many famous actress, we think Ice Age is Funnier than kung Fu Panda because there are many characters and different events in Ice Age.

  • Hank-Vincent

    Po is a panda who works in a noodles restaurant owned by his father, Mr. Ping. Po is a kung fu fanatic and he had a dream to become a great master.
    One day, the master Oogway predict the Tai Lung will come back. Oogway order a formal ceremony to choose the Dragon Warrior who can defeat Tai Lung. Oogway designate Po to become the Dragon Warrior. Despite Po’s protests and Shifu’s pleas to reconsider, Oogway stands by his decision. Oogway tells Po you have to believe in yourself. In the end, Po understand the dragon scroll and become a master, he has defeated Tai Lung.

    We think Kung Fu Panda is funny film. It is suited to kids and adults. The film do very well in kung fu, it is better than other kung fu films.

    Compare ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘The King of Kung Fu’
    They are the films about kung fu. They have different styles. ‘Kung Fu Panda’ is more funny than ‘The King of Kung Fu’. The plot of ‘The King of Kung Fu’ is boring, and ‘Kung Fu Panda’ has funny and exciting.

  • jun, sujin, frank

    I think this movie is so active and comic action. And real look face of each character is funny.
    What this movie give me the discipline is not the secret is nothing but I have to believe myself.

  • jun, sujin, frank


    Po is a fat and lazy panda that work in his dad’s noodle shop while secretly dreaming of being a Kung Fu master like the Furious Five – Tigress, Matis Monkey, Crane and Viper Due to a vision by the head of the Jade Palace, Po is chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy and become the Dragon Warrior in order to save the Valley of Peace from the evil snow lepard, Tai Lung. Only the training from Master Shifu can prepare Po to face Tai Lung and finally bring peace to the village

    Our opinion

    I think this movie is so active and comic action. And real look face of each character is funny.
    What this movie give me the discipline is not the secret is nothing but I have to believe myself.

    Compare it to another film. Which was better?

    Shrek vs Kung fu panda
    We think both of them are exciting. But each film has another plot. Kung fu panda is more active than shrek. The film of shrek has more moving than kung fu panda. In addition, both of them are comic. So, we can’t decide to compare which is better.

  • David & Nakmin

    * Write about the plot, characters, actors of Kung Fu Panda.
    – Plot of Kung Fu Panda : A sub noodle maker Poe is just very fat panda. He knows only eating. One day, he heard about special event that selection of Dragon Warrior. He decided to go to the palace to confirm who will become the Dragon Warrior. However, he accidently become the Dragon Warrior. While Oogway accept Poe as a Dragon Warrior, who have to fight with Tailung, Shifu can’t understand Oogway’s acceptance. Oogway said to Shifu, “There is no accident.” That’s right. Finally, Poe win the fighting with Tailung. There is no accident.

    – charanters & actors : Please, refer to other team’s content.

    * Write your opinion of the film.
    – It was exciting. Sometimes we laughed, became sad according to change of characters’ emotion. We think it will be good for not only children, but also adults. But both of us agree that it is just light movie for light emotion.

    Compare it to another film. Which was better?

    * I watch the movie not much now a days. So I don’t know which movie is compared with Kung Fu Panda. Long time ago, there was the film ‘Shrek’. It’s very novel for me, because I had been fed up with obvious stories of movie. In the last part of the film, the figure of changed Fiona is really shocking. It rocked people’s values. But, ‘Kung Fu Panda’ is no different from other movies. Although I didn’t have an expectation, it disappoint me. It is very commonplace character and theme. I don’t like this kind of film, also it is useless for kids.