Kung Fu Panda – Kung Fu Training Wheels

Kung Fu Panda     B+

Starring the voices of Jack Black, Ian McShane, Dustin Hoffman, and Angelina Jolie
Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action
Appropriate for all ages

The Story: Set in an ancient Asian animal world, a panda named Po (Black) that dreams of being a Kung Fu master is seemingly mistaken to be the chosen one sent to protect the village from the evil snow leopard Tai Lung (McShane). He has but a few days to learn Kung Fu and then take on the enemy in a fight to the death. 

The Good: I have to admit that I didn’t want to like this film.  I’m a big martial arts movie buff and I felt like this might dishonor the genre.  Then I laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed again.  This is a very funny movie, thanks to the talent involved and should provide enjoyment for both kids and adults.  The colors of the film are mesmerizing and the pacing of the film is fast enough to keep the kiddos interested for 90 minutes. 

The Bad: While the movie is entertaining, it is still a tad bit silly (in a bad way).  Also, while the movie looks pretty, the quality of the animation isn’t even close to that which is being put up by Pixar.  While you can’t slight a film because it’s not cutting edge, I feel that Dreamworks could have done a better job with the film’s look. 

Also, there are some pretty scary scenes, so parents with young children might want to be aware.  There is nothing inappropriate, but a film about fighting might not be every parent’s idea of a family movie.

The Summary: Panda is a surprisingly good animated flick.