Kung Fu Panda

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Kung Fu Panda
Review (9/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Kung Fu Panda is the story of Po (voiced by Jack Black), a big, fat, harmless panda bear who goes from working in his father's noodle shop (oddly enough, his father is a pelican or stork or something like that) to accidentally becoming the "Dragon Warrior" and the person (or bear, I suppose) who must battle the dreaded jaguar, Tai Lung (Ian McShane), in order to save their small village in the Valley of Peace. To do so, Po (pronounced Poh, not Poo) must be trained by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the "Furious Five", that includes a tiger (Angelina Jolie), an insect (Seth Rogen), a snake (Lucy Liu), an orangutan (Jackie Chan) and a crane (David Cross). Unfortunately, Po is big, fat, uncoordinated and more talented at eating food than he is at karate-chopping jaguars. He is totally star-struck being around the "Furious Five" and does not have a lot of interest in being trained to fight to the death. The one thing Po has going for him, however, is his high tolerance for pain and his love of dumplings and in the end, it is his love of food that ends up working in his favour.

Kung Fu Panda is an extremely entertaining animated movie and for me, one of the funnest times I've had at the theatre this year. It's fun, it's funny, it's got great characters and the voice-overs are perfect. It's just an all around good time at the theatre. It's a movie that the kids will love and the old folks will probably be pretty damn satisfied too. The prison break scene with Tai Lung is one of the best escapes that I have ever seen in a movie, and that includes the movies with real actors. The scenario where Po is getting trained by Master Shifu is probably in itself worth the price of admission. And the battle between Po and Tai Lung is also superb.

In the end, Kung Fu Panda is just one of those movies that I have nothing but great things to say about. I must admit, my first impressions of this movie, based on the trailers and posters and all it's other publicity, I wasn't really looking forward to seeing it. But it's just one of those movies that ended up being a wonderful and pleasant surprise. I fully expect a sequel to be coming somewhere down the road, and when it does, I demand an explanation as to how a stork can be the father of a panda bear! For the time being, however, I highly recommend checking out Kung Fu Panda in the very near future. You won't be disappointed!

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