Kung Fu Panda DVD Review
By Kam Williams
Charming Animated Adventure Starring Jack Black Comes to DVD
Po (Jack Black) is a clumsy panda who works in his family's noodle shop in an idyllic oasis known as the Valley of Peace. Instead of concentrating on customers, the young Kung Fu fan always seems to be dreaming of studying martial arts alongside the Furious Five, a legendary quintet comprised of the Tigress (Angelina Jolie), the Crane (David Cross), the Praying Mantis (Seth Rogen), the Viper (Lucy Liu) and the Monkey (Jackie Chan). However, Po's so uncoordinated that he's embarrassed to share his secret desire with his father (James Hong) who expects his son to take over the restaurant when he retires.
This all changes the day elderly Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), a sage sensei, has an eerie premonition about Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a former protégé of his gone bad. He has a hunch that the treacherous leopard has escaped from prison and is headed back to the region with revenge in mind.
So, in accordance with an ancient Chinese prophecy, Oogway stages a formal ceremony to name a Dragon Warrior to defend the kingdom. Everyone expects him to pick from among the Furious Five, but a comedy of errors leads to his settling on Po, a late-arriving spectator who makes an attention-grabbing entrance.
Afforded an opportunity of a lifetime, Po enlists the assistance of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) to prepare for the big showdown. If you're at all familiar with the overcoming the odds fight genre, you know exactly what's involved, a rigorous regimen featuring trademark tableaus ranging from Rocky's one-handed pushups to The Karate Kid's balancing himself on one foot.
An uplifting animated cross of Rocky and The Karate Kid certain to inspire and delight another generation of impressionable youngsters.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for martial arts action.
Running time: 88 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Animated Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Filmmakers' commentary, "Meet the Cast," "Pushing the Boundaries," "Sound Design," 'Kung Fu Fighting' music video, "Mr. Ping's Noodle House," "How To Use Chopsticks," "Conservation International: Help Save Wild Pandas," "Dragon Warrior Training Academy," printables, weblinks and DreamWorks' animated video jukebox.
To see trailers of Kung Fu Panda, visit:
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