Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kung Fu Panda

WORTH-IT: (Mark Osbourne/John Stevenson) Nominated for one of 2008's best Animated Films by the Academy, Kung Fu Panda epitomizes a good cartoon. In fact, it's a pretty apt warning as Jack Black opens the film with a warning to "Prepare for awesomeness." Complete with subtle morale and role models, the story is of a noodle-selling Panda bear named Po who dreams of Kung Fu fame but remains stuck in a career through questionable genetic default. Nervous to disappoint his bloodline and ultimately fail otherwise, Po second guesses himself all the way to being shut out of the celebration ceremony when the city's mystical overseer chooses the official Dragon Warrior (one who would know the deepest secrets of Kung Fu combat and be able to save their town from its arch enemy, Tai Lung). It gets predictable from here on out (assuming it wasn't up until then), but despite that, a genuine originality emerges from a story of a Panda who just wants to make friends and fight Kung Fu. Reaching deep within himself he finds a constant urge to make people laugh (thank you Jack Black) and make people proud. Count on characters played by Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie and David Cross to bring their own personality to the plot and a classic like Jackie Chan makes it credible (I guess?). All in all nothing really matters in this film except it is a cute story with perfect humor and enough action to deem it a success. Icing on the cake is the brilliant animation, mixing Chinese artwork and stop-speed fight scenes to replicate the finest of Asian filmography in a kid's flick. I loved it. Impossible not to.

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