movies: kung fu panda

kung fu panda - prepare for awesomenessSkadoosh!

Kung Fu Panda, to be just a little bit predictable, kicks butt!

I mean, I was expecting it to be cool... a panda who does kung fu, the voice talent of Angelina Jolie and Lucy Liu, what's not to love? But I did harbour some reservations that it might be a little bit too simple story-wise or not really go anywhere... fortunately I was wrong.

Yes, a little bit of the opening sequence, although visually gorgeous, is perhaps a little bit high on the cringe factor with Jack Black's narration, but once the movie starts up in earnest, it really finds its feet. And yes, while Angelina does get some good moments, Lucy is mostly underused... in fact all of the other "Master" characters are... they appear quite a bit, but they don't always have a lot to say.

Visually the movie is a treat from beginning to end... even from the very beginning with a modified Dreamworks logo that just fits the style of the movie, the opening sequence, as I mentioned, is gorgeous... as is the end credit sequence, which is worth watching all the way through because instead of the usual "rolling from bottom to top" credits, this is actually a roll from right to left, with the text still over a moving image that's almost like a Chinese scroll. Very unusual, and very cool.

As far as the CG is concerned, I'll say that same thing I say in nine out of ten cases with new movies of this type... the quality of the texture and everything... pretty much gorgeous from top to bottom! Fur texture, landscape, everything. They did good.

And the kung fu sequences are just awesome... a little bit Crouching Panda, Hidden Dumpling but you can actually get away with that more in an animated movie than live action I think. And there's nothing like a good training montage!

While the story isn't overly complicated (I mean, you always know who's going to win in the end... you just don't know how), it is a sweet story with a lot of heart. It's also kind of interesting, while I'm not always a fan of Jack Black (although I did like him in The Holiday and King Kong, but they were both atypical roles for him), but I think this movie actually brings out a softer and more vulnerable side of him.

I will question the logic of the panda having a goose for a father though... I mean it's fine because all of the incidental characters are either geese, pigs or bunnies (or rhinos for some odd reason)... and it does make Po the only panda on screen... but still...

But to quote Po... he's not a big fat panda. He's THE big fat panda.

yani's rating: 4 secret ingredients out of 5

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