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June 7, 2008
Review - " Kung Fu Panda " (in Theaters) - By Roland Hansen
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Kung Fu Panda - Po (Jack Black)
Directed by John Stevenson Mark Osborne
Screenplay by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger
Cast: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie
Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Randall Duk Kim, James
Hong, Michael Clarke Duncan, Dan Fogler

Enthusiastic, big and a more than a little clumsy, Po is the biggest fan of
kung fu around…which doesn’t exactly come in handy while working
every day in his family’s noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an
ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world
of kung fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five,
Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey' under the leadership of their
guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and
treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it’s up to
Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. Can he turn his
dreams of becoming a kung fu master into reality? Po puts his heart,
and his gut, into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his
greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths.
The plot, like the quality of the computer animation, is at once familiar and well-executed. Po is a huge fan of his kung fu
heroes, the "Furious Five." One day Po sneaks away from his noodle duties to witness the ceremony announcing the
selection of the "Dragon Warrior," protector of the Valley of Peace. After accidentally inserting himself into the selection
process, Po becomes the chosen one. He must overcome his physical bulk and general clumsiness to prove himself to
martial arts master Shifu (a lemur like rodent voiced by Dustin Hoffman). He must then help save the kingdom from the wrath
of a vengeful snow leopard.

Directors John Stevenson and Mark Osborne exploit the various training
and battle sequences for all they're worth. Particularly amusing is Po and
Shifu's battle for control of a dumpling, waged with chopsticks. The
computer generated animation in "Kung Fu Panda" is as good as anything
we've seen, and there were a couple of scenes that almost looked like
real footage, and not something artificial.

At its heart, Kung Fu Panda is a martial arts film in the tradition of old. There is the unlikely hero, the inevitable training
sequences, the ultimate showdown with the bad guy, and everything is laced with strong action and comedy in the style of
classic Jackie Chan films. What follows is a journey of self-discovery as Po is forced to reach deep within himself to find the
strength, the courage, and yes, even the stomach, to fulfill his destiny. The path proves to be a difficult one, as both Po and
his teacher are forced to realize great truths about the world around them. It is a trip filled with hardships, challenges, and for
the audience, much comedy.
Kung Fu Panda - The furious five, Crane, Tiger, Monkey, Mantis & Viper
By the time the end credits roll, the soundtrack's use of "Kung Fu Fighting"
seems like a happy inevitability. “Kung Fu Panda” is a fun time and
appropriate for all ages. The film features a strong character development,
strong action, and some great animation. This is definitely worth seeing on
the big screen whether you are a child, a grown up, a martial arts fan, or
Kung Fu Panda - Po (Jack Black) eating dumplings