This is the story about lazy, fat Panda called Po (Jack Black). He is the biggest Kung Fu fanboy which isn’t the most useful skill in his current occupation, working in his adoptive father’s noodle shop owned by Mr Ping (James Hong). Po is unexpectedly selected to bring peace to the valley by fulfilling an ancient prophecy. His childish dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and learns side by side with his arse kicking idols, the legendary Furious Five; Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Monkey (Jackie Chan) under the teachings and wisdom of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman).
But even before they can say “Kung Fu”, it’s up to Po to defend the valley from the evil snow leopard, Tai Lung (Ian McShane) who has escaped from prison to get revenge on Shifu and destroy the new dragon warrior, Po. Can he transform his dreams of Kung Fuish awesomeness into reality? Po puts his soul and fat into the task ahead, but the unlikely hero finds what he thought was a hinderance, are now his greatest allies.
“Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose Kung Fu skills were the stuff of legends” the film begins. This is a children’s movie about Kung Fu and the writers have even played homage to the ancient and legendary movie, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in the quote “I see you like to chew, maybe you can chew on my fist.” The panda chews…and chews…on his food, and says nothing. His mouth was filled full of culinary delights. His food dropped into his gut and he spoke. “Enough talk. Let’s fight!”
The movie continues with Po’s epic dream where he fanboys about being a Kung Fu warrior in a place where no enemy could stop him. He was unbeatable and enemies flocked from across great lands to witness his awesomeness but his awesomeness was too awesome to behold. With his fierce fists of fury, he was a sight to behold. No foe could stop him.
Kung Fu Panda is a feel good movie and it’s one of my favorite kid’s movies of all time as well as one of my favorite trilogies of all time. The movie is every kid’s dream and since revelling in the trilogy’s badassery, I have begun to all types of Kung Fu dreams. Dreamworks have churned out some great kids movies including: Antz, How To Train Your Dragon, Madagascar and most recently, Home. The Shrek franchise are another Dreamworks creation and are insanely popular with adults and children alike. Kung Fu Panda offers some stunning visuals and the script is great fun, despite a lot being a jumble of made up words that sound insanely cool and awesome.
Many kids movies these days aren’t just for kids. They’re for all the family and grown ups can watch them too, without falling asleep. Jack Black is perfectly cast as the lead voice actor as our favorite fuzzball. As a person, Jack Black is childlike himself, and he essentially is being himself when playing Po. He fits the role like a jigsaw piece slotting into a jigsaw. The humor of the movie is witty, childish yet intelligent but generally outright stupid. Previously on Jackass, ‘Panda Gets Kicked Down Kung Fu Palace Stairs’. Do not try this home.
The movie promotes positive ideologies like believing in yourself/awesomeness and if you persevere, anything can be accomplished. This goes for Po as well as Shifu who thought Po was fat, stupid and unteachable. The movie is martial arts themed riddled with excellent fight scenes riddled with punches, kicks and bounces down stairs as well as sitting on faces. Despite being animated, some scenes may be a little scary for young children like the scene when Tai Lung escapes prison. It’s dark, gritty and mysterious.
This movie teaches us to follow our dreams. No dream is too big or too small and it’s sometimes the smaller things in life that matter more than achieving greatness and great power. All you have to do is believe. “There is no secret ingredient.” Po achieves greatness but he also sees and cares about the smaller things in life rather than using great power to commit evil acts as Tai Lung wanted to do with the Dragon Scroll. Tai Lung represented what kung fu could do if it was abused and Po represented the good, pure and just side of it. I suppose it’s kind of like a ying and yang.
This movie shows that “with great power comes great responsibility” and power is to be used to help others and not only yourself. Also, it shows us that we must help each other to become better than we are, and to accept everyone in order to give them a chance to prove themself as we saw with The Furious Five.
In conclusion, this is the first installment of an awesome trilogy filled with educational themes, excellent animation and wonderful voice performances from a great cast as well as a sensational musical score, direction and a script of legendary status.