Thursday, June 26, 2008
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
I hadn't any desire to see this from the moment I first saw promotional materials, as they bore the name "Dreamworks Animation" and offered nothing more compelling. I expected something mediocre with a lot of "big name stars" and pop-culture references.
Then our friend Jeri recommended it, followed by our friends Josh and Miha (very enthusiastically, I might add). Then my boss ranked it as highly as The Incredibles, which is pleasant company indeed.
So Amy and I finally plunked down our $22 to catch it last weekend with our friends Josh & Miha ("You guys haven't seen it yet? We have to go right now.") and Lidia (the birthday girl!). And it turned out to be awesome.
The story is a lot of fun, the premise being that the ultimate kung fu fan gets to become the ultimate kung fu master. It's played very well with boundless enthusiasm by Jack Black, who honestly becomes Po rather than playing a panda with Jack Black's voice. (There are certainly many traditional Jack Black mannerisms, but they seem perfectly fit for the panda, and didn't distract me.) The other voice talent does a fine job as well, especially Dustin Hoffman, who I probably wouldn't have recognized had I not known about his role before-hand. As Jeri pointed out, the other actors don't have that many lines, so it's funny that they cast such big names as Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan, but they're fine.
We laughed all the way through, so this one comes with a hearty recommendation.