Friday, July 11, 2008

KungFu Panda

Rating : 6/10
Running Time : 92 Minutes
Release Date : 4th July ‘08
Director & Writer : Mark Osborne & John Stevenson ; Writers : Jonathan Aibel & Glen Berger ; Music : John Powell, Hans Zimmer
Voices of : Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan

It made me laugh but is not a classic. There is a very good take-off on all the good old kung-fu movies, with moves like ‘the Wuxi finger hold’ (or something like that), places like ‘Pool of Sacred Tears’ and ‘The Sacred Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom’, fighters like the tigress, crane, monkey etc using exotic styles like tiger claw, white crane and monkey kung fu. The animation is exquisite, as with all DreamWorks films, with really lovely touches like petals flying, the grass rustling, the ripples in water etc. And there is lots of fun, as we watch a huge, overweight, ungainly, wise-cracking paunchy panda demonstrate his skills (or the lack of them) at kung fu.

However, I feel this is a movie which I would be able to watch only once or maximum another time, while I can (& I do) see the animated classics, several times. There are two things which make the difference to me – one is the dialogue – movies like Ice Age had brilliant dialogue, with several ‘layers’ – some jokes which kids got and some others which were meant for adults. This one was pretty average as far as the dialogue was concerned, nothing brilliant and missed the layering almost completely. The second is the lack of multiple, endearing and characters – whether it was Finding Nemo or Jungle Book, both had several beautifully sketched, distinct, whimsical personalities (the amnesiac fish, Doreen, the turtle or Bruce, the vegetarian shark from the former & Kaa, Colonel Haathi, King Louis or the evergreen Bagheera and Baloo from Jungle Book). In KungFu Panda, too much time is spent on the Panda, too little in making us get to know the other characters and their idiosyncracies.

Kids, though, loved the movie. I enjoyed it too, despite all the intellectualisation above. And its for sure worth the price of a ticket.


Rohit Deep said...

Yes it is not a classic but it is really good. You get your money's worth.

I and my kids couldn't stop laughing through out the movie and till this date practice the kung fu moves (specially when we have the last food item to share). My daughter liked the fact that 2 of the 5 were girls:)

I throughly enjoyed it and would see it again (Jaane Tue is a classic? :))

Anonymous said...

I do agree its not a classic but a good movie to watch. Worth the money spent. With this movie, I think Dreamworks has come closer to Pixair in story telling. My son enjoyed it and liked the message conveyed in the movie dream and belief, which I think is absorbed well by him.
Apurv, I don't agree with your take on the dialogue.Comparing Ice age and this movie is like comparing apples and oranges. If you comapre this with any other Kung fu movie dialogues( Jackie, Jet li stuff) I think you would not have been disappointed and you would agree this is better.

The tussle on the bridge is awesome and animation at its best.

Rohit, its good your daughter could relate that 2 out of five were girls. But My 6 year old couldn't understand it. She enjoyed only the Popcorn i suppose. She enjoyed Ice Age though. My son asserts it is because "Kung Fu" movie she could not relate to it. May be he is right!

Anonymous said...

Wow! The kids enjoyed it! Am sure I will too.. Haven't watched it yet, now I want to.. Thank you to the kiddos I am sure I would enjoy the movie too.. Cheers,Bee