A Panda with Po-tential: Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu PandaOne of the best things about getting to see a movie when it opens is that it’s as close to a pure movie experience as you can get these days. No reviews, box office reports, spoiler alerts – it’s just a movie. And when it turns out to be good, or even great, you feel like you’re in on a juicy secret that’s just about to explode and go public. It’s exciting.

That’s why I’m so excited to be able to talk about Kung Fu Panda. Now, the movie made quite a nice bit of dosh over the weekend, bringing in $60 million, so obviously I was not the only person in on the ground floor of this movie’s success. But how fabulous is it when a movie is wildly successful and supremely crafted and written? No sequel riding on the coattails of an earlier movie, or based upon a successful sit-com. Nope – its success is predicated solely on the strength of the movie itself.

And lest you not believe me, this movie is extraordinarily well-crafted. The animation and scenery is stunning; the vocal talents of folks like Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman are finely tuned, and the story construction is wonderful. Black plays Po, a panda who works in a noodle house, but who dreams of kung fu. It’s a classic fish-out-of-water tale, given freshness by the writing partnership of Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris on the story, and King of the Hill alumni writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger for the screenplay; FYI, there’s a terrific interview with Aibel and Berger over at Emanuel Levy‘s website that gives some insight into the various dynamics at play in the screenplay process. But, back to the movie. There is one scene involving steamed dumplings that reaches such perfection that it made me happier than any other scene has made me in years. Literally.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I desperately want viewers to go into the movie with as little advance knowledge as possible, in order to maximize the enjoyment. The movie works for any audience, whether kid or adult, kung fu aficionado or active pacifist. Because face it: who doesn’t love pandas?

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2 Responses to “A Panda with Po-tential: Kung Fu Panda”

  1. dor Says:

    thanks alot for not spoiling the fun

  2. toddiedowns Says:

    You’re welcome. Until you see it, avoid the Internet and all reviews!

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