Kung Fu Panda
I accidentally downloaded the promo of Kung Fu Panda for my three-year-old daughter from YouTube and ever since then it has been a regular part of our staple diet of videos while she is having her food. Eventually we had to get the movie and this is the first movie she ever watches (she watches it whenever she wants to watch something on my laptop) for more than 30 minutes. But she insists that only those parts be played that show the panda. The rest of the movie has to be fast forwarded. Oh yes, today in the morning she also found that scene funny when Tai Lung, the main villain escapes from prison because there is lots of sound and action.
Kung Fu Panda is an out and out Americanised version of a Chinese story and that is why most of its characters are slightly funny, slightly silly and slightly philosophical; this is an existential dilemma most of American animation characters go through: they desperately try to be funny, clumsy, and innocently, fumblingly, callous. But all in all it is an extremely lovable animation film.
Po is the fat, clumsy panda who works in his fathers noodle shop and dreams of becoming a Kung Fu fighter. When he hears that a ceremony is being conducted to choose the Dragon Warrior to save the Valley of Peace, he desperately wants to see the event but something or the other happens and he cannot enter the Palace Square. After lots of tries, he ties scores of firecrackers around himself and somehow lands in front of the master tortoise who declares him the Dragon Warrior. Everybody, including master Shifu (who currently trains everybody) is shocked. Nobody believes that he can become the Dragon Warrior, but the master tortoise. Master Shifu had already been preparing five great Kung Fu warriers: the Tigress, the Monkey, the Snake, the Crane and the Mantis, and he expected one of them being declared the dragon warrior.
Believe in yourself, is the central message of the film.
Before transcending to the heavens the master tortoise convinces master Shifu that he will believe that he can turn Po into the Dragon Warrior. Shifu eventually accomplishes that and then Po defeats Tai Lung.
Dustin Hoffman (Shifu), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Jack Black (Po) and Jackie Chan (Monkey) are some of the Hollywood stars who have given their voices to the animation characters.
The metamorphosis of Po into the Dragon Warrior is not very convincing and this is the biggest shortfall of the film. The great 5 Kung Fu warriors had been training since they were kids and the Panda surpasses them just as Tai Lung breaks jail and reaches the Valley of Peace. In trying to render an American hue upon the characters the filmmakers have succeeded in making almost all characters look unsure and stupid, even master Shifu who is supposed to have reached the pinnacle of his spiritual consciousness. The scriptwriter certainly hasnt worked hard on the script otherwise he or she should have devised some way to make things look more convincing. Other than that, for kids its a great film. Vasu simply loves the adorable Pandai (she calls him like that).