Review: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ – Finally, the dream works

Finally, DreamWorks gets it right.

While its animated films make heaps of money, DreamWorks has always lagged behind Pixar in story and visuals, often resorting to stunt voice casting to compensate for the fact that their films aren’t that good.  Often they are loaded with pop culture references and tounge-in-cheek humor that definitely reflect the zeitgeist of the new millennium, but will probably feel outdated twenty years from now.

Kung Fu Panda, however, might be the first DreamWorks animated film that will stand the test of time. 

Kung Fu Panda

What’s it about?  Po (voiced by an unusually restrained Jack Black) is a Panda desperate to learn Kung Fu.  But he’s stuck helping his dad run his noodle restaurant.  Unexpectedly chosen to become the Dragon Warrior, Po must learn Kung Fu from Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and save the Valley of Peace from Shifu’s former apprentice, the evil Tai Lung (Ian McShane).  

What’s good about it?  Plenty.  The animation is rich and colorful.  The film is one of those “believe-in-yourself” yarns that has been done so many times, but it’s told well and with much heart.  And it’s free of pop culture references.

What’s bad about it?  DreamWorks is notorious for stunt casting, and in the case of the Furious Five (Po’s idols and Shifu’s students), the voice work from Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, David Cross and Seth Rogan feels a little flat.  That’s not entirely their fault; besides fighting, the five really don’t have that much to do.

Perfect for: kids, animation fans, those waiting for Wall-E to come out.

 

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One Response to “Review: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ – Finally, the dream works”

  1. Wilma Says:

    Mom approved then. *stamps* Danke! I wish I had known about this site when I purchased Barnyard for my son…*rollseye* oy!

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