Martial arts fans are going to love this. So will children. And, adults.
This cheeky tribute to the ‘Please teach me kung fu, master’ genre films will make you laugh out loud, and like most animation films for kids, also teach young ones a thing or two about belief, confidence and chasing their dreams.
Morals aside, Kung Fu Panda works at various levels. It not only combines celebratory tribute (say, like Kill Bill) with spoof like Kung Fu Hustle, sometimes goes all out to poke fun at the genre like Kung Pow and at times, is dead serious about sticking to the martial arts formula like The Forbidden Kingdom.
Like in all martial arts movies, a Chosen One has to train under a reluctant master to defeat the super-skilled villain who has betrayed the master.
Sounds cheesy but only until you find out who’s playing these roles.
First, there’s good fat Po, the panda (voice by Jack Black) who spends his time dreaming about becoming a martial arts hero some day (a nicely done anime-inspired 2D sequence gets us straight into the movie) and join the league of his idols — the Furious Five played by a tigress (Angelina Jolie), a monkey (Jackie Chan), a viper (Lucy Liu), a mantis (Seth Rogen) and a crane (David Cross).
To top it all, there’s Dustin Hoffman lending his voice to the adorable Shifu (the diminutive raccoon-like red panda), the master of the Furious Five, who has to train the lazy, flabby, gluttonous panda simply because Oogway (a tortoise and the leader of animals) has chosen Po to be the Dragon Warrior who will fight the notorious snow leopard Tai Lung.
You can’t help but fall in love with these charming little creatures that speak incredibly funny lines. Like, when Po rescues the damsels in distress with his kung fu moves and the pretty one asks him ‘How can we ever repay you,’ Po quips: “There is no charge for awesomeness. Or attractiveness.” How can you not go ‘Awwww’? After a point, you forget all about the medium, it’s all about these lovable characters. Thank God for quality 3D animation.
How else would we get to see animals do all that they do in the films and NOT feel like eating them?
Kung Fu Panda
Director: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
Cast: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen
Storyline: Chosen to fight Tai Lung, the evil snow leopard, a flabby panda called Po must train under a reluctant master.
Bottomline: You can’t help falling in love with the characters.