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31 May 2011

Kung Fu Panda (2008) Review

My Rating: 8/10

Directed by: John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
Written By: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger
Story By: Ethan Reiff & Cyrus Voris
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Animation
Runtime: 89 Minutes

A film that certainly packs a punch
Kung Fu Panda is a great film no doubt. The story of an overweight Panda whose dream to do Kung Fu comes true only this time, it’s on a large scale. The film is delightfully animated with great voice acting, a gripping story and great characters. I loved the whole idea of the film. Despite it’s whole cliché universe of the classic Kung Fu style, it feels like a homage to the genre of Martial arts and the whole early-Chinese style and be fresh at the same time. Kung Fu Panda packs a punch and is a terrific journey for the whole family. DreamWorks have their fair share of hits, as does Pixar. So this among Shrek and How to Train your Dragon, this film remains one of their best. Lest we forget excellent voice cast spanning from Jack Black to Angelina Jolie.

Plot
After opening with a fantastic 2D animated narrated sequence, which we soon discover is a dream Po is having, we meet our oversized friend. So straight away learn how much he loves Kung Fu, and works with his father –that shows no resemblance- at a noodle restaurant. The time has come for the Dragon Warrior to be chosen, which is in this universe, to become the ultimate Kung Fu Master. Po races to the Jay Palace where Master Oogway –the spiritual and wise Kung Fu mentor- will choose the dragon warrior. Here we meet the Furious Five, five legendary Kung Fu Masters who represent how Martial Arts moves usually represent animals. So we have Mantis (Set Rogen), Monkey (Jack Black), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross) and Tigress (Angelina Jolie). Then we have award winning actor Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu, the Furious Five’s teacher. Po is late to getting the palace and tries to get in using fireworks; he falls out of the sky right in front of the Furious Five. All of a sudden Po is now the dragon warrior as Master Oogway was choosing the Dragon Warrior. Master Shifu is enraged about this, as well as the furious five and soon we discover about Ti Lung. Ti Lung was once close to becoming a Dragon Warrior, but was on the evil side. He soon escapes and Po is the only one who can stop him.
The furious five and Shifu (at front).

An Excellent Voice Cast
As well as a great story, the voice acting was superb. Jack Black brought life to the character Po and really gave him emotion. Dusting Hoffman and the furious five were also excellent cast. Don’t forget about how they have got action movie stars including Jolie, Liu and Kung Fu star legend himself, Jackie Chan. Overall they did an excellent job in casting these great people to do the voice acting.

Fresh and Vibrant Visuals
Now this is what I really liked about the film. The visuals where bright, colourful and really had the ancient Chinese feel to it, alongside the music that was often in there. It has great textures, great character design and beautiful landscapes.
Master Oogway descending in one of the films finest moments.
Homage to Kung Fu and Ancient China
What was another great thing is how the overall theme is based on Ancient China and is related to Martial Arts, but it doesn’t make fun of it. Co-director John Stevenson said “...we love martial arts movies. I wasn't interested in making fun of them, because I really think martial arts movies can be great films, they can be as good as any genre movie when they're done properly”. And right he is, I am not a fan of the genre myself, but I have seen a few. Kung Fu panda shows that a Martial Arts film can have emotion and great emotion at that.
Shifu training Po
Overall
Taking home 11 awards, which is a huge score, Kung Fu Panda is a wonderful film. Winning best animate feature and best design, it is a fantastic film that is special. It’s definitely worth checking out. The story teaches you to always believe in yourself and the whole idea of this character using his weight against his opponent’s was wonderfully original. I chose to review this now as the sequel is out which I am seeing soon, and I think this film does deserve a sequel. We only really get to see Po fighting in the final scene of the film, so it will be exciting to see him in action. Another great thing is this film doesn’t try hard at being dramatic. The final scene Po thinks Shifu is dead, but he is actually just relaxing. So while Po is screaming “no don’t die!”, Shifu replies “I’m not dying you idiot! I mean uh, dragon warrior”. That was the final moment of the film and was a great way to leave it. Overall this film is beautifully rendered with a great voice cast and characters and a story enough to keep kids entertained as well as adults.


Ratings:
Story/Screenplay: 8.9/10
Characters: 8.5/10
Direction & Cinematography: 8.9/10
Emotion: 8.3/10
Visuals & Editing: 9/10
Music: 8.4/10
Overall: 8.5/10

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this is a very enjoyable film.

    ReplyDelete

 

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