Thursday 6 September 2012

Today's Review: Kung Fu Panda

Wow, this is the first time I've reviewed a movie this old, but I watched it again today, and remembered my earlier review of the sequel in which I stated that I couldn't quite remember it but assumed it was awful, and full of slapstick and cultural references. Well, I was wrong. I was also wrong about not liking any other Dreamworks movies that much, because apparently I'd forgotten about How To Train Your Dragon, which is also awesome.

Kung Fu Panda follows the misadventures of Po, a panda who works with his father(?) at a noodle restaurant, but dreams of becoming a master of kung-fu, fighting alongside his heroes, the Furious Five. Thankfully he doesn't have to wait long, as the infamous villain Tai Lung has escaped, and a Dragon Warrior must be chosen in order to face and defeat him. Through a hilarious(?) misunderstanding, Po ends up being the one chosen for the title, much to the dismay of the Furious Five and their master Shifu. Does this bumbling panda have what it takes?

So yes, here I am to make amends. Kung Fu Panda is not awful, in fact it's very enjoyable. There are none of those obscure cultural references like stupid 80s songs thrown in to make less intelligent adults chuckle. Sure, there's a lot of slapstick, but that's because it's about a fat-ass panda trying to become a kung-fu master. The rest of the movie, though, shows the Furious Five busting out some moves, and it leads to some seriously well coreographed fight scenes. Hell, even the ones with Po are pretty well done, and the whole movie looks beautiful too.

I guess the problem I had with it was it contained Jack Black basically being Jack Black, but as a panda, that likes kung-fu. Sure, it's loveable, but I'm sure I was tired of it when I first watched this. Sadly, though Po's character develops during the movie, it feels quite empty, leaving us with the feeling that he's probably still not that adequate at kicking ass. The other characters are quite bland as well, but thankfully we have the sequel, which is pretty refreshing in its exploration of Po's past and the teamwork of Po and the Furious Five combined. So I apologise for my earlier misgivings about this movie. It's a pretty solid effort from Dreamworks, as ashamed as my Pixar fanboy heart is to admit it.

My rating: 4/5

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