Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kung Fu Panda

 Awesome!! I've decided to review one of most favorite animated films, Kung Fu Panda. Can you believe that this film is the 49th highest grossing film of all time! Surely it is an indication of how popular animation is and that it is a very valid film genre.
 I saw this on its release in 2008. In fact I saw it twice on the big screen. Both times I was surprised at the amount of adults present. Not parents as such but singles and couples who had come to see it. I have found this quite rare in animated films.
 This is one of the abundantly clear things about Kung Fu Panda as a film. It is very popular across all spectrums and ages of society. I recommended this film to many people who took my advice and told me later how much they loved it. I think adults have forgotten that when animation first hit the big screen with Snow White etc it was not specifically aimed at children. 
 It is a mistake that is slowly fading as I find more adults going to animated films at later sessions to avoid children and have an exclusive adult audience.
 Well this is a review of a film, and not a social commentary, so I had better get back to it!
 I, in a nut shell, loved Kung Fu Panda. It had me laughing from the opening scenes, which were animation within animation. you have to see it to understand what I mean there. Dreamworks along with Pixar, and to a lesser extent now, Disney, are one of the premimum animated film producers. I like their style of animation and it is always of a high quality. 
 This is one of the better films they have released recently. A sequel is due to be released soon , and it is fair to say it has big shoes to fill!. It is also a film that has spawned several short half hour television specials that have aired over the last few Christmases. My nephews ( and I!) particuarly liked the more recent one where Po had to provide an annual Christmas banquet for the kung-fu masters. Very funny, with a suicidal bunny who wanted to 'die with honour' for disgracing his village. We then see him trying to get Po to help him using various kitchen utensils. It has a moral, namely Christmas is for family and there is nothing more important at that time of year. 
  The film has, of course, its moral message. Here it is basically be all you can be, and be happy with yourself. Po is a wonderful character and is cleverly portayed by a Panda bear as the film is based in China. Who can not resist a Panda bear?! Very clever indeed. He loves to eat and is somewhat over weight but this does not preclude him, through some hilarious escapades from being chosen as 'The Dragon Warrior'.
 He then has to train with his idols who are all kung fu experts. At first they, and their resentful master, are sceptical of Po, but as the film progresses they find them liking and accepting him for all his faults. The film overall is one the funniest I've seen. I honestly had tears running down my face at times. The highlight of the film was when Po and master Chey fu are training in the mountains and are chasing the last dumpling to eat. Very, very funny and shows the incredible and seemingly inexhaustable imagination that goes into a film like this.  It ends with Po defeating an evil Kung Fu master and in the process discovering himself.
 Overall this film is as good as it gets. It is hard to credit that such a fine film can be bettered, and it was by the lovely Pixar film Wall-e, that won the Oscar for best animated feature film off 2008. But to be honest Wall-e deserved it. But this does not mean Kung Fu Panda is inferior to Wall-e as it certainly is not.
 This is a film for all. Animated films are slowly being recognised again by adults as a valid and entertaining genre. For me it is a shame that Kung Fu Panda didn't win the Oscar but it shows the quality of the opposition. Wall-e was just too good. Film companies also recognise the money maker they have and this opposition brings out the best in them to produce better and better films.
 Kung Fu Panda is one of the very best. A lovely story, superb animation, and wonderful characters make this a film you must see. Believe me you will enjoy it, for as Po would say, it is  'Awesome'!!!
Click here for a synopsis and some interesting facts:
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For a specific animated site:
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