Kung Fu Panda - the Film and the Videogame
Kung Fu Panda is a Hit!
Dreamworks Studio has done it again. The best animated feature of 2008 and the summer's biggest animated blockbuster hit in 2008 is Kung Fu Panda. Released on June 6, 2008 in the U.S., Kung Fu Panda grossed nearly $190 millon in its first four weeks (more than Sex and the City in its first month of release!) The PG film features top talents, including Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and additional gifted actors who lend their voices to the Furious Five, Master Shifu, evil Kai Lung, and bumbling Po, the Panda Bear.
The Kung Fu Panda story is set in a rural Chinese village in the Valley of Peace. Po awakes from a vivid dream wherein he is fighting Kung Fu with the masters. Sadly, his life in reality is limited to serving up noodles to customers with his father - inexplicably, a goose. Meanwhile, high up on the mountain above, the Furious Five (Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, Viper and Crane) get set to try out in a ceremony for the honor of "Dragon Warrior," the chosen one who will defeat the evil Snow Leopard Kai Lung if he escapes from prison.
Po slips away from his noodle responsibilities and tries to get beyond the palace gates to witness the kung fu skills of the masters. Hilarity ensues as the panda bear finally explodes into the center of the square, just as Master Oogway, the wise old tortoise, is pointing at the Dragon Warrior. Could he really be choosing fat, clumsy Po? You must watch Kung Fu Panda to see this scene!
Kung Fu Panda Movie Trailer
Characters of Kung Fu Panda
Jack Black is masterful as the innocent, annoying Po in Kung Fu Panda. He knows he doesn't belong at the palace, but he gives it his all to learn Kung Fu skills, and even shows Master Shifu that he knows one or two secret tricks.
But Shifu and the Furious Five believe that Po is a fraud and should be driven out of the palace so that one of the true Masters can take the title of Dragon Warrior.
Rigorous training and embarrassing errors still do not get the message through to Po, however. Eventually, even Shifu comes to realize that he must accept by faith Oogway's selection of Po as the Dragon Warrior. And he must seriously work with Po to prepare him to face the evil Kai Lung, who will threaten the safety and lives of all the villagers in the Valley of Peace below.
Best Scenes of Kung Fu Panda
Some of the best scenes of Kung Fu Panda follow as Master Shifu, voiced by Dustin Hoffman, takes Po to a remote location to train him to face Kai Lung. Meanwhile, the Furious Five have left the palace to try to track down the enemy themselves, believing that their skills would be a better match.
Additional information about the story line will not be revealed, so as not to spoil the enjoyment of those that have not seen the film. As a mom of four children ages 5-10, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. The movie runs about 1 1/2 hours, and is entertaining throughout the entire time. It is rated PG, but only because of the mildly violent nature of the Kung Fu fighting. The villain is a little scary, but not as bad as some Disney films or other popular animated features. In fact, the story line may even rouse feelings of sympathy for Kai Lung.
Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda Merchandise
With the popularity of Kung Fu Panda, kids were clamoring for its merchandise! Not surprisingly, McDonald's tied in Happy Meal toys with the release of the film. Collectors are offering complete sets on eBay. There are a number of easy-to-read Kung Fu Panda books for young readers to enjoy. A soundtrack is also available, as shown to the right.
Posters, sticker books and more items may end up on gift lists for your children or their friends. However, the hottest deal is probably the Kung Fu Panda video game! Watch the trailer below. The game can be played on all current platforms (XBox 360, PS2, PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS and Microsoft Windows). It is rated "E" for Everyone, and recommended for ages 10 and up. It has both single and dual-player modes (multi-player and co-op). Much like the movie, the game takes you through a variety of environments, Kung Fu training and ultimate battle against Kai Lung and his minions.
There are 13 levels in the game in which players must overcome obstacles and solve puzzles in training to become the Dragon Warrior. Rating is based in part on mild language and "fantasy violence."
For a list of all cheats, click here!
Kung Fu Panda Gaming System
Should You Buy Kung Fu Panda?
For children, the Kung Fu Panda experience is definitely "awesome!"
And for parents, this movie is entertaining enough that you may want to go along to enjoy the antics of Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman too. Compared with the other recent animated movie release in 2008 (Wall-E), I would buy the DVD - and watch it - anyday!
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