REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda

After the disappointments of Flushed Away and Shrek The Third and the decent, but not brilliant, films that were Over The Hedge and Bee Movie, DreamWorks Animations go for a very different style of story that we have not seen them pull off before. Kung Fu Panda still initially appeared as the typical colourful and charming film that DreamWorks Animations have done on a regular basis, but they attract a different and more specific target audience for Kung Fu Panda. This target audience is towards particularly fan-boys and geeks of martial arts and kung fu. In addition, Kung Fu Panda became one of the first animated action-comedies and is perhaps more aimed for the more mature audience than the youngsters. With this in mind, Kung Fu Panda, surprisingly, turned out a hilarious and entertaining success that became the challenge against Pixar that DreamWorks were in need of for a long time.

DreamWorks Animations, like Pixar, cast a wide variety of actors in their films, especially when either their physical appearance or personality connects with the characters. Jack Black takes the leading role as he provided the voice of Po, the big, fat panda who has a passion for kung fu. Although one may not entirely love Jack Black as an actor and despite it is voice acting, Black expresses Po entirely as his own character. This is because Po is Jack Black himself in a nutshell. Furthermore, Black’s voice acting performance was excellent! He not only added the humour and sold the slapstick scenes very creatively, but also added quite a thought-provoking role to the big, fat panda. Although Po appears an overweight, lazy, clumsy but well-intentioned panda, DreamWorks gave us a character that made one’s dreams and passions become a reality. Therefore, Po is a strong character mixed with emotion, humour and inspiration.

In the supporting cast are actors who portray a wide range of kung fu expertise animals. First, there was Dustin Hoffman who provided the voice of Master Shifu, a red panda and leader of the group of kung fu warriors known as Furious Five. The appearance and the personality of Shifu is identically similar to Star Wars Jedi master Yoda. Shifu has approximately five protégés in which the majority of the actors are experienced within the action genre or, specifically, the art of kung fu (aka Chinese martial arts). First, there is Tigress, a South China tiger named Tigress, Shifu’s foster-daughter, who was portrayed by Lara Croft star Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan provided the voice of Monkey, a Gee’s golden langur and Lucy Liu as a Green Tree Viper, ironically called Viper. In addition, there are the more experienced comedy actors who mix the exhilirating experience of action and comedy together. Seth Rogen portrayed Mantis – a Chinese mantis and David Cross as a Red-crowned Crane.

Like the majority of DreamWorks animated features, Kung Fu Panda has not one, but two directors. John Wayne Stevenson and Mark Osborne, who had not directed any previous DreamWorks Animation films make this feature together and achieved a breakthrough in their careers. In addition, their work on Kung Fu Panda was also a boost of confidence, so to speak, for DreamWorks against the genius of Pixar and their features. They managed to equally fit in all of the action and all of the jokes on an equal level, which could have jeopardized the film as a whole if it leaned over one way than another. Therefore, Osborn and Stevenson turned Kung Fu Panda into a success that many kung fu fans would love and it aroused the excitement for the sequel that was released in 2011.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda is a film that brilliantly executes the action, the laughs and the drama and becomes a very fresh and entertaining ride. DreamWorks Animations give a run for their money with Kung Fu Panda against Pixar Animation Studios as they provided us with a film that is on a very close level to the charm and humour of other films that Pixar have done. Nevertheless, Kung Fu Panda is undoubtedly one of the best animated films that DreamWorks have produced and has almost everything that a family could experience and simply enjoy.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 28/05/2012.

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