Kung Fu Panda: A 4 out of 10 Movie Review
In truth, the first time I had heard that there was to be a cg film named Kung Fu Panda I had assumed that it would be a childlike retelling of the Chris Farley film Beverly Hills Ninja. This was confirmed to me when first seeing the teaser trailers. It was possible though that this “retelling” would be more suited for a younger audience. Another of my fears was that this would be an overuse of Jack Black. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good JB movie like everyone else, but it is all too easy to have the film supported by him, instead of spreading the load of character development across the on-screen “cast”
I was surprised then, that this film was more than Beverly Hills Ninja. From the beginning we are offered a dream sequence that seems to have come straight from a Samurai Jack cartoon. Enjoyable as it is, a subtle but amusing repetition of a word gives you the tone of the movie very early on. This film was not a very difficult stretch of the mind in terms of overall storyline. In fact you could probably completely write out a draft after seeing only one trailer. However, what makes the story stand out above other “underdog comes good” films is that of the subtle humour of each character on screen. From the wise old turtle who is incapable of blowing out candles (yet is clearly the best Kung Fu master of the bunch) to the father of the Panda who is adamant in encouraging his “son” to be a noodle soup chef. Some of the scenes with these characters are simply hilarious. Unlike many films these days, that feel it is necessary to have sound on screen at all times, KFP uses silence excellently for comic effect.
This is a Kung Fu film, so a lot of fighting and training is bound to be present. The movie has a twist on the necessary training instead of following the usual path of “painting the wall” etc. The use of slow-down camera effects were used frequently throughout Kung Fu Panda and yet not where you’d expect them to be. It seems that whenever someone made a mistake or there was an awkward face to be made, the film slows down for full comical effect. In fact, you’d also think that this would not work and, yet again it only increases its appeal.
For a short film it is very hard to criticise. As a family movie, it works (my sons were laughing as much as myself). It is a really good surprise to watch a film with the family and actually enjoy it as much as they do. I’d recommend Kung Fu Panda to anyone who wants to laugh for an hour and a half. Just make sure you stay until after the end credits. There is a quite an unusual but poignant scene to be watched.
The Kung Fu Panda team that consists of jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu and Ian McShane all put in a fine performance from this. If you are thinking of waiting for this to be released on DVD, then DON’T! Watch it in the cinema and enjoy it with the family. Predictable, but oh so much fun.
Rating: 5 out of 5