Posted on 6/14/08 10:47 AM
This is definitely the most surprising film of the year. It was advertised very cheaply, trying to bank on Jack Black's goofy voice, and playing what else, but "Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting" as background music.
Black stars as the pudgy Po, a very likeable Panda, who works with his father, a duck, in a noodle shop. The film revolves around the panda who loves martial arts, who has been 'accidentally' chosen as the Dragon warrior, destined to bring peace to the valley, and stop the evil Tai Lan (masterfully voiced by Ian McShane). The great thing here is that it is such a simple story, which honestly borrows ideas from many kung fu flicks, the Matrix, and countless other movie cliches. But none of that matters. It is so incredibly well done, anyone can see past the simple yet pleasant story line.
The film never cheapens itself which cheap jokes or tricks, (very unlike its own trailer and the recent Horton Hears a Who) and keeps everything very joyful. The Characters are well thought out, and incredibly designed. There are no fart jokes, sexual innuendos to keep adults laughing, such as the shrek films, and it honestly feels like a chinese Kung fu flick.
The world seems so real. The audience really is drawn in to believing that it isn't Jack Black, but a talking kung-fu loving panda, chosen to bring peace to the world. If one didn't know any better, they could mistake this as a real Chinese family film, that had been brought over to the US, and dubbed. Even the end credits play subtle Asian melodies.
Overall, Kung Fu Panda is one of the best animated films to come out in a while, and is definitely at par with all of Pixar's terrific work. GO SEE IT!!