I'll be honest with you: the prospect of the animated Dreamworks movie Kung-Fu Panda never really excited me much. I watched a few trailers, and a few promos, and I even wanted to like it simply because it had Jack Black doing voice-acting - and I have a soft spot for Jack Black - but none of these things really delivered to me. The trailers just seemed bland and sort of unfunny, like they had a lot of stuff that would be funny for kids (like the panda tumbling down a bunch of stairs and hitting the vilain in the face with his big panda ass), but would it be funny for me, even if I'm sillier and more childish than your average 23 year old? I wasn't thinking about watching it, until some reviews started rolling in. People were really enjoying this flick. Random comments on Deviantart stated that the animation was really good, and that the movie was actually a pretty decent, nice one. So last night, it was decided that Kung Fu Panda would be a laid-back movie to watch, and could even hopefully create some good spirits for the upcoming week.
The sinopsis of the movie is very simple: the main character, a fat and loveable panda named Po (like the damn Teletubbie) is "accidentaly" chosen by an old Kung Fu master to be the Dragon Warrior, the mightiest warrior ever and the only one that could defend the Peace Valley from the menace of Tai Lung. None too happy with this are the Furious Five, the 5 legends of Kung Fu - Tigress, Monkey, Crane, Viper and Mantis - that hoped one of them would be the One. Now it's up to Master Shifu to train Po from clumsy bum to kung fu master before his former pupil Tai Lung escapes and wreaks havoc in the valley.
First, I have to say the animation is amazing, very well-done indeed. The first couple of minutes of the movie are actually done more traditionally and were beautiful, they made my eyes shine with glee, I was so happy :D The fight scenes were all wonderful as well, with smooth kung fu movements and great choreography.
My next concern was about the HUMOR, this being a kid's movie I was worried it would rely too much on childish fart jokes or something, but I was so glad I was wrong. Of course there are a lot of instances of Po falling down stairs, knocking his head on walls, and generally being clumsy, but they are all so well done and intertwined with the story that it doesn't get annoying. It was great, and although I wasn't rolling on the floor laughing, I did laugh out loud a few times, and had a smile almost throughout the whole movie. It was pretty funny.
The voices... I thought Jack Black was on the spot as Po. He was great, and his little quirks really fit the character. Most of the Furious Five only had a couple of lines or so, which was a shame. Ian McShane did a pretty good job as the villain, and I also really dug James Wong as Po's father (who, by the way, I would have liked to see more of).
Overall, I had a great time watching it, more than in any of the latest movies I watched. I definitely recommend Kung Fu Panda!
It takes 4 out of 5 stars from me.