Monday, June 16, 2008

Movie Revue: Kung Fu Panda!

Po the panda loves kung fu more than anything in the world (with the possible exception of food). His idols are The Five, a group of kung fu masters who protect China from evil: Tigress, Mantis, Viper, Monkey, and Crane. The latest danger is a leopard named Tai Lung, who can only be defeated by the Dragon Warrior. Po leaves the family noodle-selling business to watch the tournament that will determine the Dragon Warrior's identity, and accidentally becomes the Dragon Warrior himself. But was it a mistake, or is Master Oogway right when he says, "There are no accidents"?

Monica says: I love this movie. It's got some great voice work, including Jack Black as Po, Dustin Hoffman as his reluctant master, Shifu, and Angelina Jolie as Tigress. Oh, and Jackie Chan (!) as Monkey. Lucy Liu also voices one of the Five; obviously the animals of ancient China were more into gender equality than the humans in "Mulan." The animation in "Kung Fu Panda" is superb, including some hilarious training sequences after Master Shifu finally discovers how he can turn the uncoordinated, overweight Po into the powerful Dragon Warrior. The plot is surprisingly good for a "kiddie movie," including Tai Lung's back story. I would've liked to hear more about the history of Tigress and the rest of The Five. Maybe it will be discussed further in a sequel (I feel fairly confident there will be one, after three "Shrek"s and a second "Madagascar" coming later this year). Overall, an entertaining movie and an enjoyable movie experience.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of five.

You'll get Johnny's take on "Kung Fu Panda" if/when he sees it. The new "Video Revue" should be up in the next few days. You'll notice some surprising changes, so stay tuned!

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