A Slice of Fried Gold


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Po the Panda with the Furious Five

It may not come as a shock to those that read my blog that I like animated movies. Rarely do I ever find an animated movie that I don't like. I think this is because they are targeted towards families and encourage good and respectable things and are full of heart - and I'm a fan of heart.

Wall-E to date is my favorite movie this year because of the grand scale and story they tell, because of the humor, because of the glorious animation, and most of all, because of the sheer amount of heart. I hope the Academy looks its way when Oscar nominations are going out because I honestly believe it deserves that kind of attention.

However, Oscar nominated animated movies are few and far between (besides in the animated film category...obviously). Most that come out are more in the passable entertainment class - fun, but not worth purchasing later. Fitting squarely into that in my mind was Dreamworks animated release Kung-Fu Panda, and amazingly enough, it ended up surpassing my limited expectations.

Kung-Fu Panda has perhaps the most standard animated movie plot ever. Loveable loser dreams for something more, when a miracle strikes and he gets his wish. Roadblocks arise, but in the end he finds out what he's really made of. It's a bit of pastiche, but it's so ridiculously fun that you find yourself not caring at all.

Jack Black truly gets his perfect role in this movie, playing a bit of a loser who happens to be overweight and incredibly entertaining. You know, sort of like Jack Black himself. Black is supported by a number of great actors, including inspired work from Dustin Hoffman, Ian McShane, Seth Rogen (as a kung-fu praying mantis - YES!), and David Cross (Tobias Funke as a kung-fu crane...need I say more?).

Besides the fact that its a heartwarming story of a character reaching his true potential and the fact that it's tremendously funny (skidoosh = best kung-fu word ever), the fight scenes are frankly incredible even in the low resolution download I watched. With animation there is plenty that they can do that actual kung-fu flicks cannot do and they take that for all its worth. There is a level of inventiveness to the action that was extremely unexpected. Combine that with the kinetic glory of the hand-to-hand combat, and you have yourself some great action.

Last but not least, although the animation didn't compare with Wall-E on a technical standpoint, the visual flair and style that they put into it really stood out as a unique spin on the computer generated animated film genre. There was almost a painterly feel to backgrounds and landscapes, giving the action surroundings that had actual weight.

So, in short, I was pretty darn impressed. I had wanted to see it because it was an animated movie, and I'm glad I finally got around to it. I wholeheartedly recommend it, as it's just a bundle of pure fun.


Anonymous said...

I loved Kung Fu Panda!! :)

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