Panda-monium

Nothing is going to deter me from going to see a film about wacky animals who engage in martial arts, not even this video from the Kung Fu Panda movie premiere.

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  • Dave (Odd)

    I’m sure I’m not the first one to say this, but what is this “Jack” on? Whatever substance it is, I’m pretty sure it’s the same one causing the major ssssuuuck in Kung Fu Panda. Since Hollywood can’t be bothered with originality, I’m off to work on a REAL story, about a wiseacre Panda Astronaut and his bungling, lesser animal assistants who accidentally save the World.

  • Bruce

    I had a good laugh seeing Cee-Lo Green and Jack Black dancing on stage.

    I can’t wait to see it. It’s as simple as that. No question.

    Oh and just for a teaser, go and watch the dumpling fight scene, just in case if you’re not convinced:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYfxKZmStA8&feature=related\

    From an inspiring animator/ artist

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/marmaladearmy Doug

    Nothing is going to deter me from throwing up. Witness the comic genius that is Jack Black.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Good thing, because it’s probably the best thing Dreamworks has ever done. No pop culture references, no fart jokes, none of the usual BS we’ve come to expect. Just a well-crafted story, beautifully animated, superbly voiced, and generally kicking major tail.

    Besides, if Jack Black wasn’t being silly at a premiere, I’d worry that he was sick.

  • joecab

    What if I showed you episodes of Stan Lee’s old Pandamonium cartoon? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXxHypG8xPw

  • http://www.blendfilms.com pat smith

    sorry.. i think i just threw up in my mouth a bit..

  • Crash

    Sorry, I know that as a “real” animation fan I’m supposed to think that this is trite and cliche, but all I see are two guys on stage having a little fun and actually, yo know, ENTERTAINING people who came to see them. Jeez, is there something about sitting at an animation desk that puts a permanent stick up your ass and a chip on your shoulder?

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    I am the last person to be excited about a mainstream animated feature, but I think this looks fantastic and I am exceptionally buzzed to go see it.

    I say “Boo” to all naysayers.

    Go back to your counting desks you bunch of Scrooges.

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    I like Jack Black’s comedy (he has his shtick… and it works at times, I think). Generally, I wasn’t a fan of the movie, but his performance was one of the few bright spots. He’s good at doing the character-in-awe-of-a-cliche bit.

  • Rat

    Haters keep hating…. animators will keep bringing the awesome anyway.

    Kudos to Dreamworks. Make us proud boys and girls.

  • http://www.grotto11.com/blog Brian Tiemann

    For my part, I remember back when Shrek was brand-new in theaters, the “ironic pop-culture-ridden take on classic fairy tales” schtick was fresh, and Mike Myers was at the point in his career where Jack Black is now… and I remember thinking it was one of the funniest damn movies I’d seen in my life. the “Welcome to Duloc” puppet show… the bluebird exploding… Lord “Farquaad”… not even Eddie Murphy or the occasional labored line or fart joke or the iffy CG animation ruined it for me. I was sold after the “Hallelujah” montage.

    I think it’s instructive, if not a little disturbing, how something that was so revolutionary at the time is now (partly through the fault of lackluster sequels—not that that diminished things like The Lion King—and partly through the “maturing” of the audience) seen as a debased and cheap simulacrum of real quality filmmaking.

    I’m as guilty as anyone of treating Dreamworks/PDI with disdain for going for the ever-popular irony dollar and for making stuff that looks shonky next to Pixar’s. But I’m not going to shun Kung Fu Panda out of spite, especially if they’re making the kind of genuine effort that seems evident in that dumpling fight clip. And while I can’t quite tell whether the tone of this post is sarcastic or genuine, I’m going to take Jack Black for what I know him to be, and just enjoy the darn thing.

  • Zep

    People, Panda is simply not a “wacky”, “ironic”, farting film. It’s just not. Seeing as it’s SO different, I’m curious how you guys who are absolutely certain of its “suckiness” are going to react when you do see it. Or maybe not that curious…maybe you’re more predictable than this film actually is.
    Do any of you even want to keep an open mind?

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C.Edwards

    My desire to see this is based solely on good word of mouth from good people, because I haven’t seen a single trailer.

    I’m going in totally optimistic, because I’d like to like at least one Dreamworks animated movie.

  • elan

    I saw this film. It’s amazing, and I dare say, perfect. To all the nay sayers (especially the first commenter) all I have is two words: SOUR GRAPES!

  • red pill junkie

    My my, has Danger Mouse gained some serious weight lately!

    Wha? ;-)

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Heh, I was going to suggest that one before joecab beat me to it, namely questioning with all this panda/kung-fu action going on, when will we be expecting that ol’ relic to pop up on the shelves of Best Buy? :-)

  • A Longtime Observer

    I’m curious to see it, but the commercials are somewhat turning me off. The extras played during movie events (such as ABC Family’s airing of the two Ninja Turtles movies (irony!) three days ago) do a better job IMO. I also like the little master who Dustin Hoffman does a fair job playing, especially compared to the guy’s normal speaking voice. Also, the Snow Leopard; how many Snow Leopards do you see in animation or in real *wild* life for that matter?

    I don’t want my fun taken away about Kung Fu Panda. The only thing keeping me from seeing it this weekend is the fact I’m not well.

  • MattSullivan

    I’ll see this movie many times. It looks fun fun fun.

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    The commercials don’t do the movie justice. I was at the preview just yesterday and trust me, this movie is the best Dreamworks has ever done. The commercials make it look like a overly hyped butt joke filled pop culture orgy, but this film couldn’t be farther from that.

  • matt

    Re: the goofing at the premiere.

    It sounds like no-one knows about Jack Black’s Tenacious D any more. Doesn’t anyone remember John K’s “Fuck her gently” video?

    Some people need to loosen that animator’s pencil from the orifice in which it’s stashed. You don’t prefer this goofing to the usual red carpet posing at the premiere? It’s a COMEDY people. And Amid (this’ll get me banned again ;)) nice to see you’re going gently with the snooty humour after the paedophilia fiasco!

    Re: Shrek’s ‘freshness’ in animation (my ironically anal-retentive opinion).

    I’m looking forward to the lack of pop-culture references from Dreamworks. Brian, with all respect I disagree with you on SO MANY of your points. Shrek was “fresh” and “revolutionary”??? The Simpsons had been doing pop-culture riffing for 12 years by then (14 if you want to go back to the Tracey Ullman Show in which it also had p-culture jokes). The only thing sort of revolutionary was that it was so based on in-jokes (Why does the bad guy live in a Disney-like as opposed to just feudal castle if he hates Fairy-tale characters so much? Oh yeah, because of the Katz/Eisner feud. Great storytelling) that the internal story generally made no sense and the references went past general refs down to the cultural minutia of jingles which were A. mostly Americacentric and B. will lose their meaning in 5 more years. Even the creators admitted they didn’t really have reasons for certain character motivations. And I don’t think Robin’s accent counts as Pythonesque non-sequitur. As for Hallelujah I won’t even start on why shoehorning a Christian hymn in there is such a dichotomy and so clunky in Storytelling terms (it’s not even Dragonslayer level)… I understand this all makes me look like a hypocrite considering my “take it easy” Jack Black comments but I just think Toy Story balances these elements nicely whereas Shrek is all icing not much cake. Aaaanyway…

    At least stuff like Toy Story worked on a few levels (both as in-joke and standalone joke like Buzz’s helmet P.O.V./Darth Vader breathing), having a premise that intrinsically allowed for it in toys and therefore the brand names that followed coming to life, rather than starting with the ‘established brands’ & external plays-on-words and working back the other way to fit them to the story as in Shrek. That’s my subjective POV of course.

    No offence mate but you shouldn’t really come on an animation site with that stuff about ““ironic pop-culture-ridden take on classic fairy tales” schtick” being “fresh” without getting some stick. Go look at some Tex Avery and Robert Clampett! Coal Black! Mistaken points of view about Shrek are one of the things that lead to Dreamworks giving us “Shark Tale”. Shudder.

    Finally, while I might disagree strongly about Shrek, I respect and agree with your sentiment when it comes to not boycotting or conversely going to Panda out of spite.

  • http://andynortonuk.spaces.live.com/ Andy

    Carl Douglas, the original singer behind Kung-Fu Fighting, should be fuming at the sight of this.
    It is one of those duets that should left to forget, because it sounds so unjustified in contrast to the original.
    But… even with this musical monstrosity as publicity, I will still go and see Kung-Fu Panda as it looks like the kind of animation blockbuster to keep me amused over the summer.

  • joecab

    Chris Sobieniak> GMTA! And knowing how these quickie to DVD things go, the cover would probably have the Pandamonium guys doing some vaguely kung fu moves to trick unknowing parents.

    Just for the record, I don’t like Jack Black at all, but that would never stop me from seeing someone voice a character. But I’m so incredibly spoiled on the beauty and throught in an average Pixar feature that I just can’t bring myself to watch Dreamworks’ stuff. But there’s no arguing that they have come a loooong way from the first Shrek: the character design looks very nice. Part of the problem with Shrek is that the characters are frozen in their original stiff designs (mostly evident in the eyes and in the humans).

  • Chuck R.

    I just received the “Art of Kung Fu Panda” in the mail today, and I’m blown away. I’ll be honest: the book could use more rough preproduction stuff and more layout and background art. The preponderance of digital makeovers is a bit much, but…

    If you are looking for a wealth of Nicolas Marlet art to drool over, this is the tome! This guy is the best designer in the business and gets better all the time. He designed the entire cast for this film, which is a treat for animation design enthusiasts. I’m going to see this movie as soon as possible, and I’ll predict that this will be the template for CG animation design for quite some time, the way Giger’s Alien was for sci-fi.

    Amid, you’ve been pretty tough on Dreamworks and you claim to put huge stock in good design. You should see this movie and do an objective report the way Jerry has done. If it contains too many Dreamworks cliches, fine, be tough. But try to give credit where credit is due. I think you owe it to theDreamworks artists, the industry, and your readers.

  • Steve Gattuso

    “Carl Douglas, the original singer behind Kung-Fu Fighting, should be fuming at the sight of this.”

    Yes, because the original song was such an avant garde classic of modern music. Why, I recall just yesterday at the Philosopher’s Club when my confidant Abernathy and I were discussing Kierkegaard over a snifter of brandy. “Kung-Fu Fighting” came on over the sound system and we were almost as moved as the first time we heard Mahler’s 2nd Symphony…

    In the meanwhile, as I try to keep my tongue from punching through my cheek, I will say that this is an enjoyable movie that has been ill-served by the marketing department. It may attract good crowds, but if they are coming pure expecting a yuck-fest, they may be disappointed. Or (as I hope) delighted to encounter a more substantial film than they expected.

  • Dave (Odd)

    It’s embarrassing, but after seeing the NY Times preview clips of this movie, I have to completely retract my premature dismissals of this movie (which were based solely on what’s been posted here at the Brew). I really didn’t like the panda’s design, either, but in situ it seems to work.

  • matt

    Yeah Amid, do an interview or an article on Marlet!

    I remember his stuff from Monsters Inc. – More ‘illustrative’ back then, less ‘designed’ but equally gorgeous.

  • Jenny

    “No offence mate but you shouldn’t really come on an animation site with that stuff about ““ironic pop-culture-ridden take on classic fairy tales” schtick” being “fresh” without getting some stick. Go look at some Tex Avery and Robert Clampett! Coal Black! Mistaken points of view about Shrek are one of the things that lead to Dreamworks giving us “Shark Tale”. Shudder.”

    Oh yes, Coal black was halarious pop culture all right; hahahah look at those blacks!! they’re just like monkeys,hoohoho. Come on, the animation is pretty good, but the designs are fucking inumane.

  • matt

    Uh, what made you think I was condoning racist stereotypes by citing Coal Black? Remember I was talking about examples of animated pop culture and fairytales. Maybe I should’ve used the zootsuited wolf instead and you wouldn’t have been distracted. Your sarcasm is misplaced, I was merely pointing it out as another example, which happened 53 years before Shrek. You’re the one who brought up monkeys, not me. We’re all adults here, and are reasonably informed, which again gets back to the point I was making about Shrek. Notice I only good-naturedly ribbed Amid, and didn’t ridicule Brian with sarcasm, and though I strongly disagreed with many of the things he said, I conceded on others. Fair enough Jenny? Cheers.