So I finally got around to seeing Kung Fu Panda, and it really was better than I thought it was gonna be. Po (Jack Black) is a panda that sells noodles at his father’s shop. He idolizes the five greatest kung fu warriors of the time: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross), who are all apprentices of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). But when Oogway (Daniel Duk Kim) prophesizes the return of the evil Tai Lung (Ian McShane), he and Shifu realize it is time to announce the identity of the Dragon Warrior. In what seems to be an accident (though there are no accidents), Po is chosen as the Dragon Warrior, despite his lack of skill and overweight body. Much to the chagrin of Shifu and his five disciples, Po must now train to become the Dragon Warrior of legend and defeat Tai Lung.

First I want to talk about the voice acting. The only name I knew coming into this was Jack Black. Watching the movie, I immediately noticed David Cross’ voice, and recognized the voices of Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, and Ian McShane, though I couldn’t place who they were. Actually, I thought the entire time that Ian McShane was actually Eddie Izzard, because they sounded awfully alike here. It was Shifu/Dustin Hoffman’s voice that drove me crazy the entire time, as I couldn’t place it. But when the credits began rolling and I saw all these big names, including Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, and Lucy Liu, I was incredibly surprised. They all did a nice job.

The animation style was really well done, and I loved the little anime sequence at the beginning before it transferred over to computer animation. The action sequences were a lot of fun, even for a children’s animated movie. There were a lot of fun fight scenes, most of them happening back-to-back starting with the dumpling fight with Po and Shifu. And the final fight wasn’t too short or anticlimactic at all, as sometimes happens in martial arts movies. I thought it was just right.

The movie was also pretty funny and had me laughing quite a bit. Even by the time the ‘ska-doosh’ came around, I had a big smile on my face just because of the context of the scene. What I particularly liked was that the jokes weren't childish fart jokes, and the movie didn’t attempt to put in adult innuendo humor like Shrek to appease the adults. The jokes worked all around the board, and the movie didn’t even have to rely on slapstick non-stop, either. I was laughing from the opening anime scene with just Jack Black’s narration.

There’s not much more to say. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again. It didn’t have to throw in a romantic subplot, and it didn’t have to have any crazy twist ending like most movies these days, and that was really a breath of fresh air. Just something simple and fun. It was a relatively linear plot, and mostly predictable, but the way it was done worked. I liked it. Awesomeness.

Royale With Cheese

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