Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kung Fu Panda


If can be mobile like Po the Panda, do a split, do kung fu, in spite of my bulging tummy I’d be a happy man. Alright, maybe minus the splits.

Kung Fu Panda rocks! It’s somehow like the old Cris Farley (remember him?) movie Beverly Hills Ninja but a thousand times better and guaranteed to make you laugh.

The movie is set in ancient China, a country we all know from Jacky Chan movies, is the birthplace of kung fu. I like the use of animals as kung fu masters, each representing a style made popular in the kung fu genre: tigress, viper, crane, cricket, and monkey. It may not original using animated animals doing martial arts but Kung Fu Panda is certainly the funniest.

And that amazes me always, laughing at jokes that would have otherwise corny when used in real life movies. Animation provides the greatest chance for the “suspension of disbelief” if I got the term right.

Take Viper (Lucy Liu) for example; now how much offense can a snake do, other than maybe hug you to death. Or Mantis (Seth Rogen); even if I were left only one finger I’d still out weigh him, and still, like Viper he’s a kung fu master.

Why look far for impossible stunts by animals when you can just look at Po (Jack Black)? Now I don’t remember panda’s being aggressive; a bear maybe but not a panda, but, Po is the much prophesied Dragon Warrior.

It may not always work. I may not laugh or cry as much as I used to with animation like I did when I was a child. But given a good script an animated film can work wonders. Kung Fu Panda’s script was perfect.

And the script called for Jack Black (as Po) all the way. Fans of Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, and kung fu comedian Jacky Chan might be disappointed considering the lack of screen time for their favorite actors. Honestly, I even had to look up IMDB to find out who played Tigress; more to the point, I was confused throughout the film if it’s a tiger or a tigress.

For Po, there was no mistake; the facial expressions, the voice, the tummy, it was Jack Black. Po is Jack Black maybe even more because I don’t remember laughing so much at his movies, until now. He was both funny and cute that I had this urge to buy a teddy bear of all things.

Lastly, what’s an animated movie without a lesson? Well, Kung Fu Panda has one. I won’t tell you because suffice to say it is very important as much as it is common, so much so that anyone else telling you this lesson would be labeled a nagger.

But not this film, the lesson was delivered in a fashion that was both unique and direct to the point.

Now that’s perfection worthy of kung fu. . . . maybe not.