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Craig Lotter reviews Kung Fu Panda

2008-08-05 11:08
The story follows Po, a big, loveable and overweight panda who works in his father goose's noodle shop but dreams of one day becoming a great Kung Fu master in the tradition of the Furious Five. These five legendary Kung Fu warriors are housed in the temple high above the Valley of Peace and are trained by the red panda Master Shifu and tortoise Grand Master Oogway.

The first thing that must be said about Kung Fu Panda is that it is first and foremost an 80's kung fu film at heart. It is one of the funniest, heartfelt and most fun movies that you'll probably see all year, and is perfectly suited to both adults and children.

Instead of going the tried and tested route of making CG films funny by inserting a lot of cultural and pop star references, Stevenson and Osborne have approached the movie as a homage to all those classic throwaway kung fu movies that China and Hong Kong have been pumping out for years. All the classic scenes and sequences are there, from chopstick fighting to slow motion impacts.

The movie runs for an hour and a half and manages to squeeze in a thoroughly fleshed out and enjoyable story in the process. Of course, the use of loveable animals as the protagonists helps to make the movie accessible to all. Humour, cuteness and plenty of kung fu action aside, Kung Fu Panda also strives to teach us an important lesson (as do most of these CG animated films nowadays) of believing in one's self and following your dreams despite all obstacles. The story contains a lot of sincere, touching and profound sequences and it is exactly this aspect of the film that helps raise this movie to the top of the animated movie pile.

Kung Fu Panda is one of the more polished CG animated movies, presenting a relevant, heartfelt, entertaining, action-packed and humorous story. It is the perfect feel good family movie that will have you laughing out loud and cheering right through to the end.

- Craig Lotter
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