Review: Kung-Fu Panda

So, Kung Fu Panda

This 92-minute computer-animated extravaganza has all the elements of a great kids-and-adults flick: Slick looks, top voice talent (Jack Black, Angie Jolie, Dustin Hoffman), a fat-kid-makes-good plot, and merchandise-friendly anthropomorphic animals for characters.

The plot centers around a vision of the sage in residence (a Galapagos tortoise, natch!) who has a vision that the big bad, Tai Lung will escape from his prison to once again ravage the Peaceful Valley. In response, he thinks it time to choose the Dragon Warrior, who will gain cosmic power to defeat evil--and Tai Lung, the leopard on steroids.

So Tortoise boy has his apprentice sage Shifu hold a tournament to choose the dragon warrior. Enter fanboy Po (Jack Black), who manages to catapult himself in the middle of the tournament and be chosen Dragon Warrior.

Only, uh....Po doesn't know Kung-Fu. He just knows how to eat.

So, from there we get the standard fish-out-of-water, martial-arts training tale. He gets discouraged. He becomes encouraged. He doubts himself. He stops doubting himself. Good triumphs. Lots of quotable quotes.

Don't get me was well-paced, extremely funny, and beautiful. It just lacked something...if you imagine Shrek with JUST the wisecracking donkey and no depth, that's this film. There's a big attempt at the end for Po to find that depth (he must, to defeat Tai Lung), but it seems tacked on, almost as if he ate a power-up from some videogame...

I enjoyed it, but I couldn't get past the Jack Black-ness of it all...

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