WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Po (Black) is a big, fat, greedy, lazy panda – not the description you’d expect for someone who’s about to be picked as the Dragon Warrior, to save the village.
Everyone is expecting this honour to fall on one of the so-called Furious Five – highly trained kung fu practitioners, whose lives are devoted to honing their skills, under the tutelage of chipmunk (or something like that!) Master Shifu (Hoffman).
But when Po accidentally stumbles into the line of the pointing finger of (old, wise, giant tortoise) Master Oogway, the honour falls on him.
To Shifu’s protests, Oogway explains “There are no accidents.”
When the evil leopard Tai Lung (McShane) escapes from prison, word gets out that he’s on his way to the Jade Palace to steal the Dragon Scroll that he believes is rightfully his. This, he believes, will make him powerful enough to rule the world.
Only the Dragon Warrior can save him – but Po’s training is not complete.
He’s mostly giving up, running away and eating.
Can Shifu – along with help, and sometimes hindrance, from Tigress (Jolie), Monkey (Chan), Mantis (Rogen), Viper (Liu) and Crane (Cross) – turn Po from a lazy lump to a noble hero in time to save the valley?
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The latest production from Dreamworks’ animation studio follows a similar path to many of its predecessors.
It’s a highly moral tale about an unlikely hero, who battles against the odds – and his enemies – to go from zero to hero.
As you’d expect, the animation is impeccable – the artwork unbeatable – and the characters are as cuddly – or evil – as they need to be to tell the story – and sell the merchandise.
But unlike many of its predecessors, Kung Fu Panda is very much a children’s film, without any of the adult humour that’s hidden beneath the surface.
For adults, it’s a superficial, simplistic and linear tale, but for children, that’s just what they need to keep them quiet for an hour and a half.
But let’s just hope children choose to sign up to kung fu classes afterwards, rather than practice what they’ve seen by trying to beat up their class mates.
opens nationwide 4th July 2008
also on IMAX