Jack Black stars in my favorite live-action film of 2008 so far – “Be Kind Rewind.” And he also stars in my favorite animated film of the year – the hilarious “Kung Fu Panda.”
Black voices Po, a Panda who loves Kung Fu and the great Kung Fu masters, and he dreams of someday becoming a great Kung Fu warrior. But instead he is stuck working at his father’s noodle shop. That is until he is unexpectedly chosen to be “The Dragon Warrior”, the one who will save his village from the evil snow leopard Tai Lung.
The real Kung Fu masters, “The Furious Five”, and their teacher, Shifu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), don’t believe in Po at first and he really doesn’t believe in himself. But then Shifu decides he can teach Po Kung Fu by using food, which is his favorite thing. And Po quickly catches on, and is ready when Tai Lung breaks out of prison and returns seeking revenge.
The plot of “Kung Fu Panda” is basic, but that is the only thing in the movie that is. The animation is incredible. The Kung Fu fighting scenes are amazing, all the voice work is excellent and, oh, did I mention that “Kung Fu Panda” is the funniest film of the year? Well, it absolutely is.
The movie is rated PG for the martial arts fighting sequences, but it’s great for everyone. In fact, there isn’t a kid or adult that won’t love this film.
My only problem with “Kung Fu Panda” is that it’s too short – only 91 minutes. I would have liked more from “The Furious Five”, who really don’t have that many scenes.
On The Official Kid Critic Report Card, “Kung Fu Panda” gets a B+.
Dreamworks has plans for a sequel…and there’s a seperate, “The Secrets of the Furious Five”, DVD available at some stores with “Kung Fu Panda”. Gotta have it.