Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  • Time: 90 min
  • Genre: Animation | Action | Adventure
  • Directors: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
  • Cast: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Ian McShane


It’s the story about a lazy, irreverent slacker panda, named Po, who is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around…which doesn’t exactly come in handy while working every day in his family’s noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five — Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey — under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it’s up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. Can he turn his dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master into reality? Po puts his heart – and his girth – into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.


  • I highly recommend the film Kung Fu Panda. I have to admit that I assumed that this movie was advertised to kids between the ages of five and ten because of the animation. I only watched this film because it was a class assignment but I actually enjoyed it. The film is short and made for all ages. In the film, Kung Fu Panda, Po, the main character, is an overweight panda that secretly dreams of one day being very good at kung fu. In actuality, he is the son of a goose, Mr. Ping (voiced by James Hong), a noodle restaurant owner. Po literally drops in on a ceremony where the elderly Master Oogway, a tortoise (voiced by Randall Duck Kim) is selecting the next Dragon Warrior who will defeat the escaped villain, Tai Ling, (voiced by Ian McShane). Po is “accidentally” selected to be this savior even though he was not an invited party to this ceremony. During these beginning scenes, if you do not pay close attention you will surely fail to notice Po as he lands smack dab in the middle of the ceremony. I really enjoyed this movie laughing at all of Po’s antics as he makes his way to the Grand Warrior ceremony.

    The theme of this movie was to follow your dreams, believing in yourself no matter what others may feel about you. Po had to learn to be what he dreamed he was destined to be, even though his father Mr. Ping wanted him to be something else. He had to ignore being taunted about his weight by the Furious Five in order to realize that he was the “chosen” one. Kung Fu Panda’s theme was very similar to Happy Feet. In Happy Feet, Mumble had to learn to be comfortable with his talent, tap dancing, not being overly concerned with what others thought of him and for being blamed for the fish shortage. In Kung Fu Panda, Po had to find his inner strength and look beyond being ridiculed and overweight in order to be the next Grand Warrior. Mumble was told that penguins do not tap dance and Po was told that overweight pandas are not going to be martial artists. Po and Mumble were both unique and treated as outcasts but in the end became heroes.

    Kung Fu Panda had ample sound effects that were present that made a movie watcher feel as if he/she were there. The graphics were suitable and so were the lighting, angles, and music. The scene where the messenger is going through the mountains during the winter with the wind and snow howling, displayed how those background sounds help to make this scene realistic for a film watcher. The camera is tilting as the messenger takes a journey down to verify that Tai Lung is still locked up. This technique allows the camera to focus on the messenger tilt upward to follow his path in one continuous shot. Even though the camera is in a fixed location, it is flexible enough to follow the movement of the messenger and the guard. The prison breaking scene is excellent for an animated movie. It demonstrated Tai Lung’s escape through sound and lighting to emphasize him breaking free. The arrows were whirling pass his head, missing each time. His deep guttural groan as he broke free of the chains was a great way to use sound.

    Even though this movie was PG rated and geared towards kids, its universal theme or message in Kung Fu Panda, was to be confident in yourself, even if you are not the best looking, richest, or educated person. If you have this confidence then no matter what others might have to say about you, it only matters what you think about yourself. Po and Mumble both did this and forged lasting friendships through respect and admiration. I again highly recommend Kung Fu Panda to people of all ages.

  • I must have seen Kung Fu Panda, either in its entirety or snippets here and there, over 20 times since its release in 2008. While its relatively simple tale of an underdog who has been laughed at throughout his entire life learning to fulfil his unexplored potential is nothing new, it remains effortlessly entertaining and the kind of film you can catch halfway through and still enjoy what it has to offer. Although the title promises plenty of fat jokes, and there are certainly plenty, the film goes beyond simply appealing to kids with sight gags by working in Chinese mysticism, some wonderful voice acting, and stunning animation that would only get better and more ambitious as the series went on.

    Clumsy panda Po (Jack Black) lives in the Valley of Peace, a scenic ancient land in China overlooked by the Jade Palace, home to the legendary kung fu masters. While he dreams of joining the Furious Five – a gang of ass-kicking kung fu specialists consisting of Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross) – Po spends his days making (and eating) noodles with his father Mr. Ping (James Hong). When he spectacularly enters the Palace during the choosing of the ‘Dragon Warrior’, Po finds himself picked out by the wise old Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) as the one to stop the evil Tai Lung (Ian McShane), an escaped snow leopard seeking revenge on Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and his Furious Five.

    Taking inspiration from the Chinese kung-fu movies of the 1970’s as well as American geek culture, Kung Fu Panda works both as a physical comedy and an action spectacular. Although the characters frequently defy the laws of physics and seem incapable of getting hurt, the action scenes are well choreographed and exciting, with McShane voicing his role with whisker-twirling relish. There are also hints at backstories and questions raised about Po’s past (why on Earth is his father a goose?), and the film is wise enough to leave the answers to future instalments and trusting in its simple introductory tale of a misfit finally finding a home. While the majority of the Five don’t really find a moment to shine individually, Hoffman lends a certain gravitas to his tragic backstory and relationship with the deadly Tai Lung. The pratfalls will entertain the kids and the gentler moments will no doubt charm the adults, something that Dreamworks generally fails to do with its animated efforts, so it’s no doubt that the series remains the jewel in it’s crown.

    Rating: 4/5

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