Kung Fu Panda

Film, Animation
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Kung Fu Panda

‘Kung-Fu Panda’ is one of those movies where one assumes the title came first and the entire plot was then extrapolated by committee. Rotund, noodle-selling bear Po (voiced by Jack Black) discovers that he is the living embodiment of an ancient Shaolin legend, which drives him to train as a martial arts expert and confront psychotic snow leopard Tai-Lung. He’s aided on his quest by crotchety Zen master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and his menagerie of high-flying wire-fu legends, the Furious Five.

There’s no chop-socky cliché too hackneyed for the filmmakers to make meat of. Inscrutable, riddle-spouting guru, check. Ancient mystical jade temple, check. Uptempo training montage, check. The setting is a sort of Disneyland version of ancient China, all fast-running waterfalls, snapping chopsticks and spiralling bamboo parasols. The script is as thin as rice paper and the characters, though likeable, are simply too plentiful, and too many of them feel short-changed.

The ending was extensively rewritten and it shows, limping to an underwhelming conclusion from which many of the best characters are inexplicably absent. But for all its faults, there’s something inescapably likeable about ‘Kung-Fu Panda’. Po is a winning hero, engagingly silly and offbeat, particularly in his workout scenes with the frustrated, irascible Shifu. Villain Tai-Lung, voiced with fearsome dignity by Ian McShane, is one of the best cartoon baddies since Shere Khan, and his prison-escape set piece is the standout here, explosive and enthralling.

This is where the movie comes into its own. The action sequences are often astounding, the high-octane animated choreography superbly executed. There’s nothing radical about the visuals themselves – the character and landscape design is entirely by-the-numbers. But we’ve never seen a cartoon move this fast before, the ‘camera’ leaping and swooping along with its gravity-proof protagonists.

As the credits roll, the film’s many flaws come sharply into focus. But while it lasts, ‘Kung-Fu Panda’ is something of a guilty treat.

By: Tom Huddleston

Posted:

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday July 4 2008
Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Stevenson, Mark Osborne
Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger

1 cinema showing 'Kung Fu Panda'

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Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:30
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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This is a great film. It isn't only funny but it has got a good storyline. You have to see this movie!!!!!!


This is a great film. It isn't only funny but it has got a good storyline. You have to see this movie!!!!!!


This film is amazing. Anyone of any age can enjoy it. There are some cliches but to be perfectly honest ancient eastern philosophy is quite alot like that. Loved it, draws on Buddhism and Taoism and doesnt take it self too seriously and its helarious and beautifully animated by anyone's standards and the music is completely suberbly amazingly good and i love it.


This film is amazing. Anyone of any age can enjoy it. There are some cliches but to be perfectly honest ancient eastern philosophy is quite alot like that. Loved it, draws on Buddhism and Taoism and doesnt take it self too seriously and its helarious and beautifully animated by anyone's standards and the music is completely suberbly amazingly good and i love it.


Fantastic my daughter and I loved every minute. Simple story line, action packed, amusing throughout and a few scary bits! What more could you want on a wet British afternoon?


Fantastic my daughter and I loved every minute. Simple story line, action packed, amusing throughout and a few scary bits! What more could you want on a wet British afternoon?


Bit of a let down. No decent belly laughs. We all thought it was OK, but not a comedy.


Bit of a let down. No decent belly laughs. We all thought it was OK, but not a comedy.


Dont go and see this film if your looking for a decent storyline, it will dissapoint you. I went into the screen this film was on hoping to relax whilst watching a Jack Black comedy with my friend. With his incredible wit, and his average humour, Black made the majority of my screen constantly laugh out loud. But as I said a poor story line makes the film seem a bit rushed. However if your looking to watch a trademark Jack Black comedy, this is the film for you.


Dont go and see this film if your looking for a decent storyline, it will dissapoint you. I went into the screen this film was on hoping to relax whilst watching a Jack Black comedy with my friend. With his incredible wit, and his average humour, Black made the majority of my screen constantly laugh out loud. But as I said a poor story line makes the film seem a bit rushed. However if your looking to watch a trademark Jack Black comedy, this is the film for you.


I THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY BORING AND A STUPID STORY, MY SON AND MY NEPHEW ENJOYED IT THOUGH


I THOUGHT IT WAS REALLY BORING AND A STUPID STORY, MY SON AND MY NEPHEW ENJOYED IT THOUGH


Not just for kids! Brilliantly animated...very funny well worth watching


Not just for kids! Brilliantly animated...very funny well worth watching


Very nice film. I enjoyed it with my three year old. We were laughing most of the time. I can watch it again, its that good. I will recommend this to anybody irrespective of the age.


Very nice film. I enjoyed it with my three year old. We were laughing most of the time. I can watch it again, its that good. I will recommend this to anybody irrespective of the age.


This film was just incredible. At first i was scared it would be too childish but it was soooo funny, everyone in the cinema was cracking up. I think the older guys enjoyed it more than the younger guys!! YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM!!


This film was just incredible. At first i was scared it would be too childish but it was soooo funny, everyone in the cinema was cracking up. I think the older guys enjoyed it more than the younger guys!! YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM!!


I watched Kung Fu Panda with my little sister, it is really funny but it's not my favourite film. I still enjoy it i watched it about 2 times lol :) x x x x


I watched Kung Fu Panda with my little sister, it is really funny but it's not my favourite film. I still enjoy it i watched it about 2 times lol :) x x x x


This movie is fanstatic and funny best movie i seen in 2008. Actually this has a better story line than some of these hyped movies in 2008 like Hancock, Hell boy II, indiana jones and skull thingy.


This movie is fanstatic and funny best movie i seen in 2008. Actually this has a better story line than some of these hyped movies in 2008 like Hancock, Hell boy II, indiana jones and skull thingy.


THIS FILM IS GREAT I WENT WITH PEEPS N I NEARLY WEY MASELF WI LAUGHFTR IT WAS SO GUD WELL WORTH THE MONEY RECOMEND IT 2 EVERY1


THIS FILM IS GREAT I WENT WITH PEEPS N I NEARLY WEY MASELF WI LAUGHFTR IT WAS SO GUD WELL WORTH THE MONEY RECOMEND IT 2 EVERY1


Terrible... i was looking forward to seeing it and when i did see it, it was boring and hard to understand..... i sopose there were a few funny bites but other than that it was shocking :o


Terrible... i was looking forward to seeing it and when i did see it, it was boring and hard to understand..... i sopose there were a few funny bites but other than that it was shocking :o


MINT it's well good cuming 2 see it agen wth my m8s this time lol well good and i mean it is really MINT!!!! XXXXXXX


MINT it's well good cuming 2 see it agen wth my m8s this time lol well good and i mean it is really MINT!!!! XXXXXXX


Went to see it with my mates the other week, pretty hilarious at some parts, if a little predictible. "There is no price on awesomeness, or attractiveness" Best quote of all time!


Went to see it with my mates the other week, pretty hilarious at some parts, if a little predictible. "There is no price on awesomeness, or attractiveness" Best quote of all time!


We loved it! Of course it's a bit clichéd & cheesy, but it's a kids film for god's sake - what do you expect?!! As another reviewer said, it has all the essential elements of a classic kung fu film, but done in a funny, family-friendly way. If you've seen many "real" classic kung fu films (especially the more "comedy" ones) you'll know they can be fairly clichéd and cheesy themselves, but none the worse for it! I'd say it's really good family entertainment - we all came out of the cinema smiling, and I think it has a good underlying message as well, so I have no qualms about the lessons my kids learnt from it.


We loved it! Of course it's a bit clichéd & cheesy, but it's a kids film for god's sake - what do you expect?!! As another reviewer said, it has all the essential elements of a classic kung fu film, but done in a funny, family-friendly way. If you've seen many "real" classic kung fu films (especially the more "comedy" ones) you'll know they can be fairly clichéd and cheesy themselves, but none the worse for it! I'd say it's really good family entertainment - we all came out of the cinema smiling, and I think it has a good underlying message as well, so I have no qualms about the lessons my kids learnt from it.


Fat panda on IMAX - the cinema experience of the year! Funny to boot...


Fat panda on IMAX - the cinema experience of the year! Funny to boot...

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