I liked Kung Fu Panda.
I saw it in theaters with a group of some of my closest friends, and despite my initial feelings of apprehension regarding Jack Black’s presence as leading man in the film; (I like him better in supporting roles. Too much Black can lead to bad things. NOT racist…) I found myself laughing aloud in the theater to an extent I’ve rarely experienced.
You see, I’m one of those guy’s that generally doesn’t go to see comedies in the theaters, not just because really good comedies are hard to come by these days; but largely because I feel self-conscious about making noise/disturbing others in theaters.
Call it a quirk… A really stupid and oddly specific quirk.
Anyway, I’ve seen Kung Fu Panda once or twice since I initially saw it the theater, and I’ve gotta’ say; the movie is still pretty damn good.
While Pixar will always put out more technically advanced, prettier, and more thoughtful films, Kung Fu Panda stands as an example of Dreamworks’ more lighthearted and scatologically humored formula adding up to something enjoyable to the masses.
In particular, I found the voice cast; while riddled with needless celebrity cameos, (Jackie Chan had 2 lines, Lucy Liu was there for no other reason than her Chinese heritage, etc.) to be quite exceptional.
Jack Black’s energy and enthusiasm, married with the hilarious animations and facial expressions of Po was a match made in heaven.
Dustin Hoffman also managed to impress as Shifu, with the timbre of his voicing doing well to add a sense of forcefulness to his voice regardless of the volume in which he spoke.
While I’m on the topic of great voice acting, let me just say:
Ian McShane = PIMP.
The fight choreography in the film, while of course animated; and thusly free of the inherent limitations of the human body, also managed to impress me.
The movements were artfully strung together, with a pace that reminded me of the old style of Hong Kong choreography I.E. sharp movements, with brief pauses for every strike so as to highlight and make visible, the beauty of each exchange.
In other words, everything was imaginatively choreographed, but conducted in such a way that the viewer could easily see exactly what was going on.
In this age of Greengrass-ian shaky cam techniques, and ultra-fast handed performers; I found Kung Fu Panda’s battles to be a refreshing take of the art of fight choreography.
While I’ve known for awhile now that a Kung Fu Panda sequel was in the works, I found out just today who some of the new characters/voice actors were going to be.
I hope she was paid well for that, ’cause her presence in that film certainly didn’t earn her any brownie points in my book.
Moving on, as long as they let James Woods be his same old snarky self, I expect great things for him in Kung Fu Panda 2.
And then there’s Van FUCKING Damme.
I’ve never heard The Muscles from Brussels do voice acting before, but chances are he sucks donkey balls at it.
Not that his normal acting was anything to write home about, but give him a break; the man’s entire career was based around him kicking people in the head… and showing off his ass.
Apparently he’s playing a crocodile in the film, so I don’t expect any jokes to emerge regarding his limberness, nor do I expect any gratuitous shots of his ass; but regardless, it’s Van Damme, he’s in an American film, and you can be damn sure I’ll be there to see it.
Anyway, the previous film was good, Van FUCKING Damme is in the sequel, and thusly Kung Fu Panda 2 WILL be awesome.