June 21, 2008

Kung Fu Panda (06/21/08)

Lettergrade: B+

Kung Fu Panda is a beautifully animated, skillfully-told, CG family adventure movie. This flies in face of the usual output from DreamWorks Animation, which traditionally includes a lot of dumbed-down, pop-culture reference heavy junk like Bee Movie, Madagascar, and the first and third Shreks. Although Panda follows the same tried-and-true formula as those movies (take a popular celebrity and anthropomorphize his persona into some lovable fuck-up from the animal kingdom), something about it actually works this time.

The philosophy spouted by the geriatric Turtle who oversees the warrior clan feels wise and meaningful... not wafer-thin as if the screenwriters merely copied it off the take-out menu from the Kung Pao Bistro while struggling to meet a deadline. The character animation is detailed and rich, the action scenes are vibrant and exciting, and Jack Black as the Panda is likable and endearing. There's a lot to like about this movie, and its a giant leap forward for the studio.

1 comment:

  1. Recently some Chinese guy is planning a defamation lawsuit against "Kung-fu Pandas"'s studio for insulting the Chinese... because the studio made the panda's dad a duck and gave the panda green eyes. I think that guy's out of his f@cking mind. But still, I was bored to tears while watching this movie. Most kids here were bored to tears too. I give the animation team props for actually getting the Chinese details right. However... my question is: how come all the villagers are either pigs or ducks? And badly drawn pigs and ducks too. Seems like they just used the same 3D model and copied and pasted...