Kung Fu Panda Talkback

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Dreamworks Kung Fu Panda opens today. I’ve seen it twice now and I think it’s a great film. It works on all levels – humor, action, heart, as well as artistically, etc. – but most importantly it’s pure entertainment. See it this weekend if you can. Oh, and here’s a tip: stick around after the end credits for an additional scene which concludes the story.

The purpose of this post is to solicit readers opinions of Kung Fu Panda. Please respond below only if you’ve actually seen the film (we will not post comments here by those who have not).


  • Duze

    Yes, I agree. Pretty solid film, I really enjoyed it. Easily the best thing to come out of Dreamworks Animation, period. I’m REALLY glad they kept it all in the Kung Fu Panda world. One thing that always grinds my gears is when Shrek or whomever starts pulling out pop culture references.

    Great acting choices, too. Significant achievements in character design and their 3D animatability.

    Very good job!

  • Chris

    Well I just got back from a midnight screening and I just had to congratulate the Dreamworks team. They actually did it. It really isn’t like any other Dreamworks movie and therefore is incredibly enjoyable. Jack Black is great, Dustin Hoffman and Ian McShane are better. It is just a really entertaining film. I did not expect to like it as much as I did and I could not be happier for the guys at the studio for pulling it off. You did a great job and I hope you keep it through Monster Vs. Aliens and How to Train Your Dragon. I had my doubts like many other people but I’ll be the first to admit that I loved this movie. I hope everyone gives it a shot, it’s worth it! Also thanks to James Baxter and his studio for creating another stunning 2-d sequence, it’s worth the ticket price alone!

  • droosan

    KUNG FU PANDA is fantastic. I caught it at the ASIFA-Hollywood screening on Tuesday, and I will be seeing it again tonight.

    If you think you know what the film will be like based on the trailers, or based on what you think a Dreamworks film ‘is’ .. think again.

    It is awesomeness.

  • Danielle

    I saw it earlier this week. It was the first Dreamworks 3D animated film I’ve seen in a long time, and I was pleasantly surprised. The story is predictable to a certain extent, but it’s good overall. Amongst my favorite parts were the opening sequence and the action/fight scenes (especially a certain one that involves a bridge). It’s good to see that Dreamworks Animation has moved beyond smug, pop culture-laden pictures and I hope they continue to make more films like this.

  • http://rauchbrothers.com Mike Rauch

    I’m going to leave my judgment of the quality of story, etc. out of this response. One of the things that really bothered me was that I felt this film was not good for children. It’s characters’ smart aleck lines and attitudes are the kinds of things that DO creep into the minds and hearts of kids, creating those 12 and under cynical back-talkers.

    The film is also demeaning to overweight people. POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOLLOW: The big break-through in teaching the panda kung fu is discovering that he’s motivated by food!!!? Besides being an idiotic premise, what does that teach small kids? Not only that, but in the end the panda more or less just bumbles his way into beating the bad guy, falling down the hill, sitting on him (another fat joke), and being impossible to actually hurt because…wait for it…he’s fat!

    Yes, Jack Black is well-cast and funny. Yes, it’s visually striking. But, if I had kids they wouldn’t be seeing this movie. Don’t we owe children better than this kind of mind-garbage?

  • invader kat

    So, i went to the screening on wedsday with fair expectations. I was blown away! The color, line flow, the style, editing, character development and the way that the story was told gave the viewer air to enjoy all of the beautiful elements implimented. I am recomending it to everyone i know, and i am a picky viewer! It was alot of fun to watch and really exciting to see a successful kung fu animated film. The fight scenes were CRAZY! Im going to try them at home.

  • The G Man

    I saw the advance screening on Tuesday, and I gotta say: you weren’t kidding, Jerry.

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

    I saw this in an IMAX preview (thanks, Dreamworks…)

    Wasn’t my cup of tea, but has a lot going for it. Beautiful opening sequence, lots of great camera work, great performances by Dustin Hoffman and Jack Black, story keeps moving at a fast pace, some really rich visuals in terms of color, texture and depth of visual field. My gripes? I felt like the story and characters were a little out-of-the-box and a bit thin. Will this keep you from having a great time? Judging by how everyone else feels, probably not.

  • Clint Seaton

    KFP completely redeems PDI/Dreamworks from all of their previous attrocities. Mind you, I don’t lump the rest of DWA in with this success (they have yet to prove themselves that they can learn from PDI). I still reserve the right to be wary until PDI can hit a second home run in a row with their next picture, but if they can pull it off I will no longer have to be wary of anything they might produce before I see the finished results. KFP can stand along side any Pixar or Disney classic! It’s too bad it took PDI so long to get right what Pixar did on their first feature.

  • K.Borcz

    I’m checkin it out at an IMAX tonight and then a regular theatre tommorrow. All by chance, seems everyone I know kinda wants to see it. I think it should do quite well this weekend.

  • Dave

    I enjoyed it, more so than anything so far this summer, even Iron Man and Indy 4. Maybe a few too many fat jokes, but there were some great set pieces especially the kungfu fights (the breakout from prison and the bridge sequence, for example), and nice to see homages to the martial art movies that inspired it, such as the 18 Chambers series.

  • http://www.asifa-sf.org californiakid

    While I liked Panda better than any DreamWorks feature to date, my favorite bits were the traditionally animated segments. As usual, the combination of clunky background characters (many long shots felt like Rankin Bass outakes), restless camerawork and too much reliance on talk talk talk detracted from the experience. But the design is beautiful (and culturally sensitive) and at least there were no pop music interludes.

  • Nipplenuts McCurk

    I went to the premiere last Sunday…..I’m a notorious “Dreamworks Hater”, so I wasn’t expecting anything.

    I WANNA SEE IT AGAIN!!!!!! :)

    This is NOT your typical DW movie. There are ZERO pop culture references or too-hip-for-the-room-but-not-really jokes. ZERO quasi-modern music uses (aside from Kung Fu Fighting in the end credits).

    It’s a beautiful movie, and the action/fighting is spectacular. Great casting that works the way it does in a Pixar film (Dustin Hoffman is great…you barely can tell it’s him). I really really loved the Master Oogway character.

    The only thing I’d say is unfortunate is that the action works much better than the humor…you’d think w/ Jack Black in the lead, Po would be much funnier. It’s not that there are bad jokes, it just seems like there aren’t enough ….but when it’s all said and done, it’s still just flat out enjoyable.

  • http://billsart.blogspot.com Bill Robinson

    I saw Panda at the IMAX preview at the Metreon the other night. It blew me away. I had heard good things about it, but its been a long time since I had that much fun at the movies. The art direction, the animation, the fight choreography – everything worked so well together. All my animator friends with me agreed that it was the best Dreamworks film they’d ever seen. Wouldn’t be surprised if it gives WALL E a run for its money at the oscars.

  • http://www.toddjacobsen.com Todd Jacobsen

    Solid character designs, beautiful art direction, awesome fight choreography, and inspired voice casting.

    A much-needed reverse roundhouse kick to the American animation industry.

  • http://www.kyleboyd.blogspot.com/ Kyle Boyd

    Po is the most endearing and sincere character DreamWorks has ever introduced to an audience. It’s by far their best picture. Congratulations to the entire team!

  • http://cidcartoons.blogspot.com Rodrigo

    Dreamworks gave our school a free screening.

    Best-Dreamworks-feature-to-date.

  • Zep

    It’s beautiful: great score, great art direction, fine character design and animation, nice simple, solid story played out by the characters rather than by the “plot”. All “A”s. Sincere, lovely, touching. And also extremely funny.

    I think the supposed “pop-culture references” thing about Dreamworks films has become something people are too touchy about and bring up in a knee-jerk way. There’s far less of it in all their films overall than people think. Sure, “Shrek” has them but after all that’s the basis of the premise: fairy-tale world turned upside-down and dysfunctional. What made “Shrek” hugely popular was humor that came more from the characters(ugly as they-are so it’s an even bigger achievement)than a “Farbucks” shop that happens to be in a BG.
    But it’s become a cliche to unfairly accuse every one of their films of being nothing but those kinds of jokes. Thank goodness this marvelous film is taken for what it actually is, no thanks to the advertising. It’d be a good thing if Dreamworks would stress the beuaty and class as well as the goofiness of a potential hit like Panda.
    Congratulations to everyone at Dreamworks!

  • Kate

    I thought it was good, but it felt like they chickened out with the story towards the end. Tai Lung is supposed to be a ferocious bastard, but he’s beaten by Po, who JUST learned kung fu? What about the other five? They barely got any speaking time too. I didn’t know Jackie Chan played the monkey until the credits rolled.

    The animation and designs were gorgeous, I loved that Shifu trained him with food, and except for the weak third act, it was pretty good. It just felt like it could have been bigger. Sequel maybe?

  • Dave

    I got to see Kung Fu Panda last Saturday. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and it completely elevated my respect for Dreamworks Animation. I really think this is their best picture to date. This is a beautiful looking film; the animation is spectacular and the fight scenes are very well choreographed. James Baxter and his studios work is phenomenal as usual. Most noticeable to me though…the story is more solid and has more appeal than many of the other Dreamworks films. Great job Dreamworks Animation. I also thank you til the end of time that you didn’t put any dated pop-culture jokes or top 40 music interludes!

  • Carolyn Bates

    Wow. I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun seeing this at the ASIFA screening. It’s beautifully designed and it refreshingly steers clear of pop culture references and mean spirited humor. The directors have shaped their scenes with care and allowed characters (and us), space to breathe. Po, Shifu and Tai Lung are a good marriage of terrific voice acting and exemplary design & animation. I love Asian action films and the fight scenes and silly chopstick food scenes had me feeling like a fan girl. And with all that good stuff, they’ve got the drop dead gorgeous, 2D dream sequence and end titles. I’ll go see it again.

  • Fish

    Clint Seaton,
    Please get your facts straight. PDI did NOT do Kung Fu Panda. It was a Dreamworks Animation production done in Glendale, not Redwood City.
    Jumping to conclusions is fun isn’t it?!!! Yaayyy!!

    Oh, and just so my post doesn’t seem like a totally off topic post I too have seen Kung Fu Panda. I was invited to one of the free screenings. One word – AMAZING. At the threat of repeating what so many have already said, it is gorgeous, very heartfelt, very funny, and the action is hot. Oh, and the story actually works … really well. I’ll gladly pay money to see it again this weekend even after seeing once.

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

    I loved this film but I do have to agree to a certain degree about the ending.

    >

    The conclusion is funny and inevitable yet still not quite expected which is exactly what you want in a good ending but the finger hold thing at the end bothered me a lot. For one he goes “skedoosh” which IS a pop culture self reference to Jack Black. That took me right out of the film for the only time in the whole movie. Also I felt that the film’s lesson could’ve been vastly strengthened by letting that finger hold be a fake out. If the enemy had surrendered from fear, having not learned the “secret ingrediant” lesson, it would’ve made Po seem wiser and the villan would’ve been defeated by himself.

    >

    Still though, awesome movie as you’ve all said. I’ll be seeing it again for sure!

  • http://www.rosemarytravale.ca Rosemary Travale

    I walked into the film with zero expectations and was pleasantly surprised by how good and fun it was. I was however pretty disappointed that the entire movie didn’t look like the first five minutes. I would have rather seen a film in that style than the regular old CGI fare. Not to say that the film didn’t look great though.

    Jack Black bordered on annoying at times. Dustin Hoffman was great. The slow motion inserted into the fight scenes got overused and old quick.

    Loved the end credits also!

  • http://blackwingdiaries.blogspot.com Jenny

    “Mind you, I don’t lump the rest of DWA in with this success (they have yet to prove themselves that they can learn from PDI).”

    This film was animated down the hall from me at Dreamworks, Glendale(hey, Ken Morissey-I hear you animated Oogway blowing out the candles? Beautiful, pal).
    Where did you hear differently?

  • tom

    I loved it, but I think that some of the voice work could have been a little more distinctive. That is always my main complaint about DW films. I think that they’re a little starstruck in choosing voice talent, and they would rather work with a movie star than a more appropriate actress. I’m looking at you, Angelina Jolie.

    Still a really solid, beautiful, fun movie. Their best yet.

  • Michael Lee

    I just want to chime in that this is by far the best thing Dreamworks has ever done.

  • Inkan1969

    Interesting how Cartoon Brew has one moderator who praises it to “Incredibles” level while the other moderator pans it every chance he gets.

  • elan

    Beautiful film, Oscar contender.

    @ Mike Rauch

    I didn’t have a problem with Po being influenced by food. It makes sense to his overall storyline too, especially since he came from a family of foodies. And, let’s face it, panda’s are fatter creatures, so why not use it to his advantage in a kung fu fight? And I highly doubt little kids will learn that overeating/being obese is “good” from seeing this movie. If anything, maybe it will turn them on to asian cuisine, which in many ways is far healthier than American cuisine.

    Besides, as usual, it’s the job as the parent to educate children, not films. Talk with your kids about everything they see in the world and media and I’m sure they’ll turn out fine. Smart-aleck kids these days are a failure of parenting, not bad movies. Besides, I thought the father-son relationship between Po and his dad was fantastic. He loved his dad, treated him with respect, even when he disagreed with him, it was respectful and polite.

    And in my opinion, NOT letting children see this film because of your prejudices and film-snobbery is a disservice to THEM. Why keep kids away from a very fun, very well done, beautiful film that will not only spark their imagination and curiosity but entertain them as well?

  • http://www.milowerx.com Mike Milo

    I went to the ASIFA screening on tuesday as well and aside fro the fact that I had to sit 5 rows from the front it was an awesome film. the onlt hing that bugged me about it was there were too many characters. I don’t really see a reason why they need the Fabulous Five. They really didn’t add to much to the story. Couldn’t they have slimmed it down to say two of the five and then had more character development with the two? Jackie Chan had like two lines. Same for the others. Was it worth having him in the film? I don’t think so.

    Other than that it was a beautiful film. Being five rows from the front I really got to see the fur and the details and I have to say it was stunning. Ian McShane’s voice was perfect. Jack Black was cool too although there were a couple of Jackisms that made me pull out of believing he was Po and into remembering he was Jack Black playing Po.
    I’ll need to see it again for sure because most of the fight scenes were too much of a blur being so close to the screen.
    I LOVED the 2d bookend stuff! Am I mistaken or was there a bit of Flash or After Effects in there? Some of the characters at times seemed segmented and Flashy in the motion which did not bother me in the least, i was just wondering if I was the only one who saw that.

    After hearing that some were offended at the fat jokes, as a fat guy I say, who cares? It was funny! And fat people deserve to be in films too and they don’t have to be treated as saints either. That’s the real world.

    As a father of two girls who saw the film and loved it afterwards neither left the screening, pointed at fat people and laughed. Give the kids a bit more credit than that Mike.

    PLEASE.

    Besides if you REALLY want to nitpick I think you should complain more about that the main characters were living in China yet had American accents. The three Asians were minor characters.
    But even that didn’t bother me.

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    This film was great, as I’ve mentioned in comments here in the past, and in my review over at Channel Frederator. It will have people looking at Dreamworks Animation in a whole new way.

    The expressiveness from the characters, the locations, character designs, action sequences… pretty much everything was well done. I picked up the Art Of book, and I was surprised to see how realistic they were planning at first. This was a much better direction, in my opinion, and I’m glad to see how strong the final piece came together.

    Go see this film AT LEAST once this weekend. I can’t wait for the BluRay for the behind the scenes as well as some frame by frame viewing.

  • Lindsay

    I went to see a noon showing on IMAX today, and I must say it was pretty damn cute. Definitely run-of-the-mill story (underdog + martial arts + Chosen One + ad nauseum), but it was done well enough that it made for a good yarn. :)

    I liked the pushed character designs and art direction, especially. The opening and closing animation was far more interesting than the CG content, but I’m glad to have seen it present and used sparingly for effect.

    I don’t quite understand DreamWorks’ standard practice of celebrity voices in this film, however. The five masters hardly say a word, especially Jackie Chan. O_o Black, Hoffman, and Hong did excellent jobs with their voicework, imo.

    All around, good stuff. A surprise, especially coming from DreamWorks. ;)

  • AdrianC

    I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I was skeptical after seeing Dreamworks’ other movies (“Shark Tale” was the worst offender) but “Kung Fu Panda” was a treat! It’s a visual delight and it’s genuinely funny (little or no pop culture references, thank you!). There are some quibbles: the underlying theme of the film is nothing new, the movie is kind of lightweight in terms of emotional resonance and I still would have chosen a few different actors than those used in the final product (Angelina Jolie, I’m looking at you). Still, the movie was a pleasure to watch. That’s saying something too, since I had a terrible seat at the theater and I had some issues weighing on my mind.

    This is easily Dreamworks best animated film in years (possibly the best overall). I amazed to say that I would love to see this film again.

  • AdrianC

    Oh I forgot! The movie also gives audiences a much-welcome taste of “2-D” animation—twice! That alone is a selling point for me, even if the rest of the film were dreadful which, thankfully, it’s not.

  • http://www.alessandroceglia.com/theintruder Alessandro

    KFP is really solid. The action choreography and camerawork (especially in the Tai Lung escape and the bridge sequences), the character design, and the animation are all top notch.

    But, in my view, the 2D dream sequence steals the show. It’s simply phenomenal — fresh, modern, edgy. I hope it paves the way for more modern 2D work at the big American studios.

  • Joe

    Although I’m a huge Jack Black fan and the character design looked really great, I was nervous about the story. But when I saw it, (as the kids would say…) OMG! A GREAT BIG JUICY HAZAAH for Dreamworks!!! They pulled it off! Goodbye Ogre & Hellooooooo Panda! Like I said, the Character design was really well done. Not only that but the Intro dream sequence, credits, voice acting, backgrounds and music were great. To address the 5th comment about the fat jokes; your looking to superficially and trying to be too controversial with your review. I am overweight, I used to be obese, and I do have a child. I would let her see this when she becomes of age. The message that they are trying to convey is the it doesn’t matter if you are fat, thin, skilled, or clumsy … you just have to believe in yourself to accomplish anything.
    Besides being a really good film (this coming from a 2D supporter), I finally got to see a family film with NO BODILLY FUNCTIONS IN IT! I almost wept with joy. (please no one burst my bubble about what the giant gold explosion at the end was. I need my moment of Zen.)

  • http://dmgermain.blogspot.com David Germain

    I just got back from seeing it. Jerry Beck is 100% correct. This movie is quite well done. I also agree with nipple nuts. One thought that crossed my mind at times was “Jeffrey Katzenberg was involved with this??!! It hardly shows.”

    Although, why did the roles of the Tiger, Snake, Monkey, Mantis, and Crane go to big names when those characters hardly talked? Those roles could have been easily filled by experienced cartoon voice artists for a lot less money than those stars probably demanded. Why hire big expensive names when you’re not going to use them?

    But the only other thing that disappointed me was the theatre employee. Instead of picking up the popcorn and garbage off the floor he just swept it under the seats. He earned his minimum wage I guess.

    In summary: Great movie! Well worth the $10.99. Go see it in the theatres. The 2D and 3D look great on the big screen. Whether it’s suitable for children or not, the kids in the theatre with me loved it.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com Emily

    I was really frustrated when I saw a bad review on the front cover of the Calendar section(L.A. Times). I saw it Tues night and I feel like writing a letter to the Times in response to the article. I’m really tired of those who are already too prejudiced against Dreamworks to enjoy a good film with the Dreamworks title, and have this adamant mentality that Pixar is good, and Dreamworks is bad. Obviously Pixar’s “got it down”–but Dreamworks has made a good film with Panda.

    I thought this film was great. The heart of Jack Black was channeled through the panda, Po, in such a way that felt very honest and vulnerable. The story was also solid, albeit Star Wars-y. Needless-to-say, the visuals were stunning, including the 2D segments. On top of all these things, the film is also quite entertaining . If I am to make a Pixar comparison, I honestly enjoyed this film better than both Ratatouille and Cars.

    One last detail: When you see this film, pay very close attention the beautiful cowlick on top of Po’s head! I couldn’t stop looking at it…

  • http://comicrazys.wordpress.com/ Christopher

    Just got back from seeing it with my 4-year old son, Jack (no relation to Mr. Black) in tow. I loooooved the opening dream sequence. I was thoroughly prepared to sit through an entire film of that animation. WOW!!! Kinda disappointed when Po woke up.

    The rest of the movie was okay. I, too, thought that Tai Lung was the sh_t! and that he was taken out so, so easily by Po. But we all saw that coming, right?

    Also, I think the action moves too fast in 3D animation. Despite the slo-mo takes, the rest goes by so fast I can’t register what’s happened. One of the things lost in modern martial arts films, compared to the old saturday morning kung-fu theatre, is the clarity of the action. In the old films one take could last 5-minutes before a camera cut is made. You get to see the beauty of the choreography in each fight. Nowadays that beauty is replaced with quick edits and fx. So much time is spent to choreograph and animate these fights, let the audience see it!

    As for my son, he’s still too young to sit through a full length movie. At 40 minutes in he was moving around and getting antsy. At one point he yelled, “Get me outta this movie!” After he settled down again and we got through the film, he enters the lobby area kicks and fists blazing. Like Neo, my son has been programmed. He can now say, “I know Kung-Fu.”

  • http://www.lifeformz.com/weblog/blogger.html Brian S.

    Spoiler alert. Don’t read if you haven’t seen the movie.

    Wow, what an almost great film. Story and writing-wise, the film had me right up until the climax, with its slightly different variation on the “believe in yourself” meme so common in CG-animated films. I could relate to Po’s desire to be involved in something great but not being ready. But given the moral of the story being “the secret ingredient is nothing, it’s all you, and the strengths you have” why on earth would Po’s winning climactic finger move, the one almost used on him by his reluctant-to-teach-him teacher, BLOW UP his enemy??!! Is this some sort of martial arts movie reference I’m not familiar with? For me, this came out of nowhere and took me out of the movie completely.

    Animation-wise though, lightyears beyond the other PDI/Dreamworks films. LOVED the wise turtle’s tongue expressions after he spoke. Great eye darts, reaction shots for a change.

    LOVED the nice, slow end credits so we can actually see all the people who worked hard on this film.

    Definitely worth seeing, but not quite as brilliant as it could have been. Ah well.

  • Frank Adams

    It’s like Monogram Pictures up and made “Citizen Kane.”

  • http://cupojo.net Jo

    The posters and trailers had me rolling my eyes. But then the Brew review got me interested, and I just got back from seeing it with friends.

    I adored it. Here why: Slick, appealing designs, surprisingly intense and well-choreographed action, a script that had a fun story and natural sounding dialogue, no pointless album-selling songs, no awkward love interest, beautiful 2D candy sequences, and best of all…the inevitable “Kung Fu Fighting” nod was reserved for the end credits. And the celebrity cast was not as big a selling point as Dreamworks usually makes it- who knew that Jackie Chan was in it??

    My critiques are small- not even worth mentioning. I’m very pleased with this film. It really was a rare treat.

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

    Loved every second of it.
    Anyone bitching about it being light on story is delusional.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Saw it last week. Loved the opening 2D and the bridge sequence. Would see it again but there are other films coming out that I’d like to see first.

  • Joe Horne

    Here’s what happened….
    Client A (4-7 year olds) could not stop with the laughing. They enjoyed the gags. Client B ( 8-11) really dug the action. Their favorite gag seems to be the thug at the inn who was blinded by the light. The clientproviders all had an audible “AHHH” when the master sees that panda found a way to eat the monkey cookies (hmmm that didn’t come out right) and everyone laughed during the training with the food sequence and were deadly silent during the battle between the teacher and his evil student. Client C (60 and over) were in the audience…WITHOUT GRANDCHILDREN. This is gonna make huge coin. My favorite scene was when the 4 year old client behind me told his mom ” Don’t worry…Po has been trained…he’s gonna eat the tiger. nice……

  • droosan

    Brian S. .. how do you KNOW what happened to Tai Lung, at the end..? I thought the fact that there was a very conscious effort NOT to show what actually happens when the ‘holder’ moves his pinky was actually quite clever .. Tai Lung’s fate is completely open to interpretation (and being ‘blown up’ is not the only possibility).

  • mawnck

    What all y’all said.

    Dreamworks’ best, and most definitely worth seeing. Grab the nearest Pixie and drag them to the theater.

    The only thing that bothered me about the flick was a weak voice performance by one significant supporting character. The voice just didn’t live up to the visual. Angelina Jolie, I’m … well, you know.

    Don’t let that stop you from seeing it. Don’t let ANYTHING stop you from seeing it. It’s very funny, very cinematic, very well done. And STAY AND WATCH THE CREDITS! Lotsa good stuff in there.

    Congrats Dreamworks! (And Baxter Animation!)

  • http://marcosgp.blogspot.com/ Markus

    Dreamwork’s Best, and the most pure entertainment movie of a long time. Stunning Visuals , great opening and end credits and this time there wasn’t really a cheap joke that snap you out of the movie, The Jokes were into situations that defined the characters and the absurdity of some action scenes like the scape of the bad guy were hilarious.

    I wouldn’t mind to enjoy it again soon :)

    Good Work Glendale guys!

  • rachel

    One of the coolest things that happened when I went to see the film tonight at the Arclight in Hollywood was finding out that Raymond Zibach–KFP’s production designer–was in the audience. It was so much fun getting to cheer him on because he (along with the rest of the people who worked on the project) definitely deserves it–this movie is truly gorgeous to look at. The colors, the 2-D segments, the vast & sweeping landscapes . . . it’s all great. Plus it was just heartwarming to see him there with a group of about 30 people who’d come out to support him (and who went crazy when his name came up on screen).

    Anyway, I went in with high hopes after Jerry’s enthusiasm and what I thought was at least a promising trailer, and I wasn’t disappointed! All in all I thought the movie was often laugh-out-loud funny without ever being crude and packed with a lot of great action sequences and an equal amount of heart. I will definitely see it again, and found myself anxiously awaiting its DVD release even before the closing credits stopped rolling.

    As for the little nit-picky things, going through the previous reviews, I generally agree with the pervading sentiments so far . . .

    tom said:

    “That is always my main complaint about DW films. I think that they’re a little starstruck in choosing voice talent, and they would rather work with a movie star than a more appropriate actress.”

    And I agree. I don’t personally think anyone was terrible, but at times I wished Jack Black was a bit less, well, Jack Black and a bit more Po. Not to get all Dreamworks vs. Pixar, but one of the things Pixar always does right is choosing actors who bring the characters to life and who (most of the time) just happen to be known actors whereas Dreamworks hypes up the “names” in their films and sometimes the audience has to do a bit of work to forget that they’re listening to Mr.-or-Ms. Big Time Movie Star and actually get into the character. At first Jack Black was a bit too modern urban slacker for me to love him as a bumbling Chinese panda, but he grew on me as the movie went along. I know there have been complaints about Angelina’s Jolie, but to me at least her voice & style fit in a bit better with the time period & setting (which says nothing about her performance, but she still never pulled me out of the story). I wish the Five had had more lines (but on the strength of the movie alone, at least David Cross can feel better about himself again the next time he’s in a room with Patton Oswalt). The standouts to me were Dustin Hoffman, Randall Duk Kim as Oogway (my favorite performance and character), James Hong as Mr. Ping and Ian McShane (glad we’ll be “hearing” more of him in the upcoming Coraline!).

    Taber Dunipace & Kate said:
    “Also I felt that the film’s lesson could’ve been vastly strengthened by letting that finger hold be a fake out. If the enemy had surrendered from fear, having not learned the “secret ingrediant” lesson, it would’ve made Po seem wiser and the villan would’ve been defeated by himself.”

    “I thought it was good, but it felt like they chickened out with the story towards the end. Tai Lung is supposed to be a ferocious bastard, but he’s beaten by Po, who JUST learned kung fu?”

    Yes yes yes! I thought the movie felt rushed once Po started his training, and I wished something more had happened before he ultimately defeated Tai Lung. However, I didn’t see any problem with him using his weight to his advantage and I don’t see how anyone could be offended by the movie either because of its “fat jokes” or because it supposedly promotes obesity & eating too much. I think the message was really that he used to be lazy, uninspired and unhappy, but when he found his calling and learned to believe in himself, he saw that he didn’t have to become someone else–or what everyone “expected” the dragon warrior to be–he just had to discover his own unique strengths. I think that’s a great message for kids–and in my opinion a cartoon panda is far enough from reality that they’re not going to walk away from watching this pudgy bear and go on to either emulate his food gobbling or make fun of heftier people in real life.

    Also, three cheers to Dreamworks for relying on good-ol-fashioned story telling, and leaving the pop culture references & pop music out this time around. How refreshing!

  • Mike Johnson

    Going in, I had fairly high expectations for Kung Fu Panda based upon some of the early reviews for the movie, like Jerry’s. I also had never really cared for any of the Dreamworks CGI features previously, with the exception of the first two Shrek films, so I thought maybe, just maybe, they had finally come through with a classic.

    God, I love being right…

    Kung Fu Panda spun me right round and literally had me leaning forward in my seat like a little kid who couldn’t take it all in fast enough. Though I agree that the story itself was very simplistic, it hit me hard enough in all of the right ways and places that I found it extremely satisfying, and perfectly told for what it was.

    The voice acting was fine, especially Dustin Hoffman, who even though I knew was providing the voice I couldn’t recognize easily, which is a blessing to me because I hate it when a celebrity’s voice is so familiar it takes me out of the movie and back into the real world every time they speak.

    The animation was gorgeous, and I agree with those who enjoyed seeing the traditionally animated 2D animation. This was a real treat, and I too could have easily enjoyed seeing the entire film done this way.

    Overall, a truly good job, and I would rate this right up there with The Incredibles as one of the best animated films of recent memory.

    And by the way, does anyone remember Monica Sharp and Dave Garcia’s “The Chronicles of Panda Khan” comic book series from the 1980′s ? Seems to me it probably helped to inspire this film at some point very early on, perhaps long before “Kung Fu Panda” was fully concieved?

  • Kelly Tindall

    “There is no secret ingredient.”

    I think Dreamworks finally realized that for themselves. This is easily their best cartoon to date, and one of the most entertaining in years.

  • http://hannywanny.blogspot.com/ Hannah

    JUST got back from seeing it!
    I whole-heartedly agree that this is the best film Dreamworks has well… ‘dreamed up’. (lame pun) The animation was amazing, (the 2D beginning/ending sequences!? Holy Roger Rabbit it was eye candy!) and so were the character designs. The best thing in my opinion? There was a lack of Dreamworks’ obligatory lame pop culture puns. Good for them. It made the film 20x better. My only complaint is that of the five masters… felt there was a lot more they could have done with those characters. Maybe at some point there were more bits for them, but got cut. (let’s wait and see in the DVD…)
    If Dreamworks can keep making films of ‘Kung Fu’ quality, they may actually give Pixar (and my preference for them that’s currently unshakeable) a run for their money. Let the games begin.

  • http://www.watchmike.ca Mike

    Loved the part when the tortoise is blowing out candles near the beginning- simply hilarious.

  • Trisyan

    Great film, but i wish that they would have had more of the dream sequence animation.
    it was so pretty.

  • http://www.coveringthemouse.com Kurtis

    I went to see this in theatres based on Jerry’s recommendation. What a great movie! Everything from the art to Jack Black’s acting to the action, to the story were superbly executed. Yes, there were a few nit picky things that I didn’t like but good out weighted the bad by far.

    I walked out of the theatre thinking that this is a new dawn for Dreamworks, but then I remembered that I saw a trailer before the movie for Madagascar 2.

    Thank you Elan, for your response to Mike Rauch. It was well worded and echoes my opinions exactly.

  • Tristan

    check this out: http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/06/06/sound-off-kung-fu-panda-what-did-you-think/

    scroll down to the comments from a guy going by “Laser!”.
    it’s pretty interesting on his struggles to work on this film.

    love the film, by the way. just wish that it was longer

  • http://www.johnbludwick.com John Ludwick

    “There is no secret ingredient.”, Indeed!

    For me, I got a good story that I really connected with: I want to be better than what I am. And I really connected with Po Panda’s nerdity. I see myself in animation the same way Po saw himself in Kung Fu.
    On top of that, I got a bonus: fantasy Kung Fu scenes worthy of the craft of animation.
    The character designer of Po the Panda should be complimented; his design has a lot of appeal, I couldn’t stop looking at him, his face, or his motion.
    Tigress’s design had more potential appeal as a male character. Her extremely low waist, triangular torso, and thick wrists all say “male” to me. I was surprised to hear a female voice come out.
    The celebrity voices of the supporting cast were heavy-handed; each had less than 5 lines the whole movie (scratch tracks would’ve been just as effective). The only voices that carried the weight of the story were Black, Hoffman, Duk Kim, and Hong.
    On the story side, time will tell whether or not it will stand. Often times we forget that some movies that have stuck around are the ones critics claimed would be forgotten.
    SPOILER ALERT
    My friends, and myself, all unanimously agreed on one story point: The story of Tai Lung shouldn’t have ended with his physical defeat. They had a golden moment to redeem the character beyond his two-dimensional badness (they even had the right foundation established in his youthful training scenes). It would have elevated Po the Panda’s victory, too

  • http://kambodiahotel.blogspot.com Moro

    I agree with most of the previous posters–I’m a huge HK movie buff and I liked the hell out of it.^__^ A lot of it was right out of Stephen Chow and Ching Siu-tung movies. They could have just made a stupid parody film with a lot of ‘funny’ kung fu, but they wisely chose to make something a bit more straightforward…Not that there isn’t a lot of funny stuff. I especially liked the sword that’s so sharp it cuts you if you look at it. And the visuals alone were worth the price of admission.
    (I was a *little* dissapointed at the beginning when it switched from 2-d to 3-d.^^)

  • http://www.thevalve.org/go/valve/archive_author/bbenzon/Bill%20Benzon bill benzon

    The atmosphere and scenics were beautiful. Action, well choreographed. Story, a little thin.

  • Iain Robbins

    Yeah I was surprised by it, cause I had my expectations crushed before with “Shark Tale”, “Madagascar”, “Over the Hedge”, “Flushed Away” (I know it’s done by Aardman too, but in the marketing campaign it said “From the Creators of Shrek and Madagascar” so technically, the immediate studio is Dreamworks Animation), “Shrek the Third”, and “Bee Movie”. I personally think the best came out of the first two “Shrek” films, “Antz”, the stop motion Aardman films, and the traditionally animated features. But “Kung Fu Panda” brings two things together: DreamWorks’ 3D animation, which I think is not the best around, and traditional animation for it’s opening and end credits, which I love.

    Some parts were kinda silly and the story was pretty predictable, but the animation was great to look at, and what’s better, it’s in Cinemascope. Haven’t seen great kick-ass animation in that format since “Atlantis” (besides “The Simpsons Movie”). The casting was okay, but I did feel that Angelina Jolie, David Cross, Seth Rogan, and Jackie Chan as The Fearsome Four was really pushing it cause they really had minor roles.

    That’s all I got to say about Kung Fu Panda and I gots to go.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Wow. I never expected it to be that good. Too many high points, both technically and artistically, to list. They blow any quibbles away.

  • Paulo

    The whole family and I went today and everyone loved it. The only complaint from my son and daughter were, ” Its too short”

    Well done to all the folks involved.

  • http://siskavard.blogspot.com corey

    Just saw it today. All I can say is that Dreamworks finally did it.

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

    I just came back from “Kung Fu Panda” and before I read any of the other comments, I just want to say that it is by far the best Dreamworks animated picture that I have seen. It was fun, funny, highly enjoyable. If I had to take a kid to a movie this would be it.

    It was a little heavy on the head bonkings and I could I have used a more intimidating villain but I went in completely blind and I thought it was great!

    Also, I do agree with many of the commenters here about the voice casting. It seems to me that The Furious Five should’ve either been more distinctive voice actors or closer together in tone. And the Tigress looked like a male, I couldn’t get around that.

    And I see what everyone is saying about the pinky trick, but I thought using that trick to take out a villain that’s supposed to be that bad-ass was pretty much a big pile of “nothing” already. But it was fun, which sticks to the feel of the movie so…

  • Graham

    The 2d stuff was worth the price of admission and there’s a lot of great animation throughout. The story was better than other dreamworks films mostly due to the lack of pop culture references. The fight scenes were great, but sometimes were a bit “zippy” if that makes sense. But the choreography was awesome. A great piece of animation. Congrats to the people who worked on it!

  • Glenn

    Saw the film tonight. Theater about 1/2 full. Was a good film, if very predictable. Animation and design were nice, if a bit self conscious in areas. Like with Chicken Little it did take some adjustment that these were mostly somewhat random animals thrown together to tell another version of a well worn idea. And the funniest thing is I’ve seen some FAR better kung-fu sequences with real actors. The ones in the movie were pretty good, but with the adjustment to the reality of the world being presented, I just didn’t buy that anyone could ever get hurt. And of course, no one ever really did. It’s a kids film, after all.

    I liked the opening of the film a lot.

  • http://MANNYCARTOON.COM mannycartoon

    WOW…
    That was great stuff. Great charecters design (those some more varriation between the lynx and Tigress would have been nice) The story was fantastic and not overy smatlzy. And keeping the modern wold to a minimum was alway a good choce (Po is bacially a modern day fanboy but being one myself the storytellers are forgiven)

    To reapeat what a few have said I too would have paid to see more of the credits style animation….does anyone know if that was flash or hand drawn?

    I’d also like to know from the pros community, was there a controversy over the charecter designs? I’ve seen lot of artists with very different KF Panda designs. Was there a big open submission thing for this?

    I’ll be getting the art of book for this as well as seeing it again.

    YAY!

  • Sasha

    It did nothing for me. Hackneyed story and the whole talking, wacky animals premise is so old it’s dead and needs to be buried. And there was nothing implicity beautiful about the animation, I always felt like they were just showing off.

  • K. Borcz

    OK so the first time I saw it, at the IMAX I felt there were some slow bits. The funny bits and the action sequences were really solid. But there were times I got distracted. But I liked the movie. Wicked animation, loved the scenery and style. I think the opening set was a great setup for the film, really liked the look of it.

    Second showing was at a standard movie theatre= liked it even more. Same scenes stood out, the fight on the bridge, the wowbow training battle, and the escape from the jail were my favorites.

    One thing that I felt they overused was the fat panda getting tired of running up stairs/falling.

    Overall, good film. :)

  • K. Borcz

    Oh and I loved the scene when Po was infront of the fabulous five in the training room trying to be cool but totally being nervous, I loved that.

  • http://toonintoonontoonout.blogspot.com/ Rookie

    Shootout on AMC posted a sixty million dollar box office tally over forty million for the Adam Sandler movie. That’s not chop suey.

  • RC Collins

    I like Jack Black and all, but I was totally underwhelmed. Sorry folks but I’ve gotta pee on the picnic here. This is, to it’s core, a Dreamworks film. If it were from Pixar, I’d have actually cared about these characters. There would have been something resembling a plot, or character development. What we got is a big, obnoxious commercial for stuffed animals and video games.

    It’s like biting into a fortune cookie full of rotten meat. Hollywood needs to understand that if you’re gonna do a “kung fu movie”, even if it’s a cartoon, it’s not necessary to have the characters jumping in slo mo/fast mo 200 feet into the air with the camera spinning 360 around them every second. Maybe I’m just picky about action cinematography, but CGI directors seem to think that just because they can move the camera any angle they want, that means they should do that every other shot.

    Some thoughts..

    1) The “kung fu” in this movie is unrecognizable… 99 percent of it isn’t even kung fu… It’s just a bunch of animals flipping around around at speeds the human eye can’t register. So there’s just a bunch of blurry crap going on that bears no resemblance to kung fu. Maybe the directors should have studied actual kung fu or martial arts films (like maybe old Jackie Chan, Yuen Baio or Sammo Hung movies, which were brilliant at combining choreography and humor) before they made this. And if they did.. they really weren’t paying attention at all.

    2) the message in this movie is “you just have to believe”, supposedly in yourself, but the message is, you don’t have to have any real talent.. you’ll just magically get talent if you believe in yourself. So all the other animals had to work hard and train to get their skill.. all Jack Black’s panda just magically got it after a day or 2. What a great message.

    3) Jack Black, while funny… isn’t that great a voice actor (he’s more a physical actor), and neither are any of the other “actors” in this movie.. even Dustin Hoffman, who was cast inexplicably as an old kung fu sifu (his character is a sifu is called Shifu. Is his name Sifu Shifu? That’s idiotic).. apparently they cast these movies for marketing value anyway, so thats not a surprise. If you’re gonna get non voice actors.. make sure they’re right for the role, not that they have a marqee value.. Pixar does it right.. Dreamworks doesn’t. Kids don’t care about Dustin Hoffman or Angelina Jolie’s voice, and really, neither do the adults…and they don’t add anything that a real trained voice actor couldn’t do 20 times better, so what the fuck.

    4) When characters can fall hundreds of feet without getting hurt.. it kinda takes the “danger” out of the action, which.. I think you want in a movie about kung fu. Contrast this with The Incredibles and their action sequences… they’re amazing partly becasue there’s real danger to the characters. In KFP, you’re not invested in any of the “fights”, because there’s no risk involved. It’s the movie equivalent of throwing teddy bears against the wall.

    5) There needs to be some sort of voluntary moratorium on the song “Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting” in pop culture, because when that came on over the credits, I wanted to choke myself. That song fucking sucks ass and there’s no need for it to be played anymore.. any “retro-hipness” that could have been had has been squeezed from that thing since … come to think of it… that song was never hip.

  • Peter

    I was mostly pleasantly surprised; though nearly anyone else in the Panda role would have let me enjoy the movie even more — I had no idea who the rest of the voice cast was until the end credits and that was refreshing. I’d echo everyone else that this was the best Dreamworks animated anything to date, but that seems like damning this film with faint praise.

    The background design and character animation was truly beautiful and the story was obviously a work of love. I feel bad finding things to nitpick, so I won’t.

    Speaking of the end credits, though — this was the first movie I can remember that had an entire screen of credits for the accountants, another for the merchandising people and yet another for the IT personnel. Or maybe I’d just never noticed that before?

    The fantastic opening sequence was done by “Jim Baxter”…? I’d like to hear more about that studio…

  • LawrenceK

    Saw it today with my 11 year old son. I loved it! Thought the background characters; the pigs and the ducks set just the right tone. Loved the scenery and the camera angles–which never became overwhelming, even when the thousand rhinos battle takes place. I will go back next weekend to see it in IMAX. Dreamworks has a winner on their hands.

  • http://paperless-animation.blogspot.com David Nethery

    Peter said:

    “The fantastic opening sequence was done by “Jim Baxter”…? I’d like to hear more about that studio…”

    Peter, check out James Baxter’s website for his biography and filmography. James is one of the top animators in the world. I heard he has recently returned to Dreamworks Animation as a full-time employee. (hopefully to head up a 2D animated film at Dreamworks ? I hope, I hope, I hope … )

    http://www.jamesbaxteranimation.com/

  • http://toonintoonontoonout.blogspot.com/ Rookie

    “It’s like biting into a fortune cookie full of rotten meat”

    Where exactly do you order your Chinese food from? I just watched it a second time with my wife, she loved it. The kids in the audience where laughing out loud, their parents where laughing as well. One kid nearby might have been too young because she was scared during the Tai Lung prison sequence, but soon after was giggling like a mental patient when Po ate the cookies. Based on first hand observation, I think DreamWorks hit their core audience, which are not necessarily Kung Fu-philes. I think they deserve the kudos they’re getting.

  • MattSullivan

    I’ve seen it five times in three days ^-^

    FUN!

  • http://tangoland.com Cynthia

    Look out Pixar.

  • joe

    good film, though imo the ending keeps it from being a classic.

    redemption would have been far more powerful and heart warming.

    aka learning there is more to kung fu than beating another person (Kung Fu hustle did this also)

    instead they gave us pure slapstick.

  • http://www.markmcdermott.com Mark McDermott

    Yeah, I liked it quite a lot, but the odd thing is, my 7-year-old boy was much more excited about it going in than afterward. Maybe the action sequences were way too fast-moving and chaotic for him to enjoy?

    I was worried about Po keeping up the fanboy culture references throughout the picture (“authentic battle scarring”?), but that settled down pretty early. Did appreciate the references to OTHER kung fu films, just cause the whole genre keeps building on previous pictures. And for once in a Dreamworks cartoon, the characters had skeletons and for the most part their mouths stayed attached to their faces. I also liked how they led the audience to believe they were going to…

    MINOR SPOILER

    …explain how a panda had a goose for a father, but faked out with a more important plot point.

    That the Furious Five had little to do but get defeated seems like an appropriate trope of kung fu movies. It also seemed like a “natural” plot development that they get to like Po when he demonstrates that he’s at least good at making noodles. and yes, there had to be five animals to represent the five popular “animal” styles of kung fu, so they’re not a slapdash collection of animals.
    Oh yeah, and only one person gets kicked in the cajones, and no fart gags anywhere. That’s better than most recent Disney features.

    Now for my nits: while we may like to think Dreamworks is finally getting it right, before the film we were “treated” to the trailer for “Madagascar 2.” The old Dreamworks cliches are there: acres of butt shots, overworking of a 10-year old dance hit from the first movie, incongruous pop culture refs, homophobia-based humor, character designs all based on molded Jell-o, wacky held poses instead of character movement, the latter from the “Madagascar Penguins,” the most annoying spinoff from a feature cartoon since “Gabby.”
    And in the lobby of the theatre, a monitor ran a continuous loop for the trailer from “Beverly Hills Chihuahuas,” featuring the theme that will certainly be torturing adults during its year of heavy Radio Disney airplay:
    “Ay Chihuahua, Ai Chihuahua!
    Ay Chihuahua, Ai Chihuahua!
    Ay Chihuahua, Ai Chihuahua!…” ad infinitum.

    But I was glad to have seen KFP without any sign of a “Shrek 4″ trailer yet.

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

    RC, the fact that it’s about a Panda Bear, should have told you this is not a serious Kung Fu movie.

  • http://www.tonycanepa.com Tony C.

    It appears for the first time Dreamworks had a solid film concept that was left virtually unscathed all the way to completion. This is a true kung fu story, and could easily be translated to human actors with few plot adjustments.

    The villain was a complete badass and they did not tone him down for child audiences. Guess what folks, it’s a PG movie and like other CG movies with a PG ratings (The Incredibles) it is not for kids of all ages (Oh no! An animated film that some kids can’t see?! What next?!) The action is engaging without the violence being gratuitous, but yet characters were injured, and the film implies that some were even killed. But here’s the thing, it makes for a compelling story. The Empire Strikes Back had a lot of dark parts, but kids of the right age understand it and are all the better for having seen something with some substance. If you complain about that stuff, take your kids to Madagascar 2 for animals in drag and fart jokes…which are, of course, perfectly fine.

    The art direction was superb, direction solid, and fight choreography was stunning. Hats off the Dreamworks for creating the first CG feature that actually completes with Pixar on a creative level.

  • The Obvious

    Quoting a post from myself 2/13/08:

    “Some of the shots in this trailer are simply stunning in scope, and anyone who has ever seen the work of Dreamworks’ concept artists knows how many talented individuals they employ. The fact may be, that most audience members (myself included) are tired of the faux irreverent comedy/animal Dreamworks film.

    I hate to get heavy here, because this film really isn’t out to do anything but entertain and amuse, but it seems to me that the world many of us feel we are living in needs a little more than entertainment and amusement from its art. Animation (and art in general) could be so much more than it has become in this country, and there is a genuine need for inspiration, authenticity and honesty from the artist today.”

    I would like to say that having just watched the film this past weekend I can not think of more horrible trailers than the ones created to promote this film. This movie, to be sure, has some less than successful moments, however I can’t imagine why someone would cut them into a trailer.

    I first experienced a change of heart after viewing the “Art of…” book and seeing some of the more outstanding elements of this film. This is Dreamworks finest film to date, and I think that fans of animation should encourage Dreamworks down this road. I was wrong in my assessment based on the trailer and I really do think Dreamworks has created something of fine quality.

  • Zep

    To : The Obvious: For every frustrated artist who sat by in vain while seemingly everyone in the blogosphere shat upon “Panda” based on its trailer, thank you for your post. Yes, the trailer was pretty lousy(I saw it for the first time with a packed, stoked audience for “Indiana Jones”‘ opening night and it was mostly crickets with a few grunts and verbal rolled eyes-not too good a reaction). Clearly Paramount wanted to go with what they believeD will sell the most tickets(that’s their job after all), but it’s obvious that a really beautiful, funny and intriguing-dare I say classy-trailer could easily have been made from what’s actually on the screen.

    Based on this film Dreamworks would do well to try to advertise it’s artistry and class as opposed to the most childish gags. Not every film is “Jackass” as people really are a bit saturated with that at this point.

  • The Obvious

    To: Zep

    You are, of course, very welcome.

    I can’t imagine how hard it is for a team of artists trying to do something special to see a product so heavily misjudged before it is seen based on inaccurate trailers they have little control over. For now, I would hope that the entire team behind the film feels the warm glow of success and a job well done.

    In exchange for my previous inaccurate analysis, let me offer this: Word of mouth will give this film legs and the appreciation it deserves.

  • jpox

    I thought Kung Fu Panda was great! Dreamworks’ best feature yet!
    I really thought the look, feel and spirit of the film was spot on! Great action sequences!
    But with the good, comes the bad. The character designs were awesome, but the character’s personalities were rather thin. Perhaps another feature would fix this problem? No television series please!
    There were a lot of fat jokes, but Po can’t help that. Instead of letting that stand in his way, he uses it to his advantage.
    Great 2D intro, great way to bring the audience into the story!

  • http://tbgloops.blogspot.com/ Mr. Trombley

    Nice little movie. I would like to thank John Stevenson who helped make the wise decision to push this away from “parody” to a comedy.

    Hurrah for comedy! Hurrah for Kung Fu Panda!

  • http://myspace.com/kindalikesorta efrain

    I’ve seen it twice now and I loved it both times. It’s entertaining with great action, laughs, and visuals. My review: http://kindalikesorta.com/kung-fu-panda-dazzles-with-humor-and-martial-arts-panache/

  • gjs

    Count me among the minority.

    The animation, camera work, and character design are wonderful. However, the story and characters are weak.

    I saw a matinee with many kids and there were few full audience laughs. It’s a talky movie and most visuals are played for action not laughs. The emotional tugs felt forced and flat.

    Credit to the animation team for doing a lot with very thin material, however.

  • MattSullivan

    Honestly, I like the more animalistic look in the designs. And I’m betting is they’d feminized Tigress or gave her breasts some people might start saying it’s some kind of “furry” character. ( look it up )

  • MattSullivan

    All in all, I’d like to throw my congrats to the whole Dreamworks crew. Well done you crazy kids. Keep it up.

  • Mark McDermott

    Further emphasis in agreement with the good points: the Art Direction looks like the Powers That Be for once said “give us a world these characters live in” instead us “give us the box these Happy Meal toys will go into!” And Mr. Trombley nailed what made this move work: it was a genuine “comedy” instead of another smart-alecky “parody.”

    And what happened to Tai Lung? My guess is he went the way of all good villains who need to be held in reserve for the sequel. Maybe a follow-up with Po together with the Furious Five might be worth seeing. Yes, I said that.

  • Matthew Hunter

    I saw it today. I have been helping my aunt and uncle take care of the young cousins this summer, and they were stoked to see this movie, so I took them to see it. I didn’t know what to expect, though I’d read nothing but good things about it. I liked it! Was it the best animated movie I’ve ever seen? No. But what I liked about it was that the animation was better than I’ve ever seen in a Dreamworks CGI cartoon feature, and that while they had celebrities in the voice cast, they weren’t annoying. I had no idea Dustin Hoffman played the “master” character until I read it in the credits. It was also relatively short, and completely devoid of obnoxious pop culture schtick. It looked cool, the actors did a great job, and it was a fun story. Some nice 2-d stuff during the opening and closing helped, too.

  • Curious George

    Just curious to know if Amid saw the movie and what he thought about it?

  • mickhyperion

    I thought the art direction, set designs, backgrounds, and textures were nothing short of amazing. Comparable to Sleeping Beauty for sheer detail.

    The character designs were par for the course, however, and the character animation was certainly heavy on impressive, fast action, but rather short on subtlety and acting.

    The story, voices, dialogue, and character development were very predictable and ho hum. The best line of the movie came fairly early on (“the past is history, the future is a mystery…”).

  • Christine

    I just watched it yesterday night and it was HILARIOUS!

    I haven’t laughed so much since…I don’t even remember when! But seriously, this movie will MAKE YOU LAUGH. Po is HILARIOUS, but at the same time so sweet.. I expected Shrek humor, but it had NO cultural jokes or references and had no hidden sexual jokes (that Shrek has).. If I had a child I would SOO take him or her to this movie!

    Overall, HILARIOUS and HEARTWARMING… And oh so many memorable quotes! Goshhh.. I would SOO watch it again and again and again! Dreamworks has done a GREAT job with this one! Props to them!!!

    p.s. I am DEFINITELY buying this movie when it comes out! haha

  • Nathan Strum

    Kung Fu Panda was much better than I expected, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s far, far better than Disney’s recent efforts. There were some genuinely funny moments, a lot of the fighting animation was really amazing, the 2-D opening was most welcomed, and some of the characters were very well done (Po, the turtle, the rhino guards, the villain, some of the birds).

    But as stated elsewhere, the story was completely predictable, and Dreamworks desperately needs to get away from casting celebrities, and into casting characters. Some of the voices just didn’t match their characters at all, or were so bland that they really sucked the life out of them.

    Still, this is a big step up for Dreamworks, and one I’ll be sure to get on DVD. (Can’t say I’m all that excited about Madagascar 2, though.)

  • Cleve

    For me the most enjoyable of the Dreamworks animated efforts. Breezy and sweet, and invested with a lot of passion. The lack of topical humor will keep it accessible and fresh for decades, and what gorgeous, carefully sculpted artistry… every frame. Sumptuous stuff.

    Kudos to everyone involved. This is a gem in every respect.

  • Bob Elms

    The 2D dream sequence directed by Jennifer Yuh-Nelson and animated by James Baxters studio is online, it’s nice to be able to look at it again.

    http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie.aspx?m=2078444&GT1=MOVIES5

    At the trailers and clips section Click on “View All” and then “Exclusive video: Opening dream sequence”

  • Bob Elms
  • PorkyMills

    Kung-Fu Panda was simply awesome. It’s destined to be a classic, and I hope certainly, a turning point for Dreamwork’s record. While I’m not against Dream works as many here (I really enjoyed Shrek and Shrek 2), this is most certainly their best feature to date. Lovable characters, great humour with characters that don’t try too hard and so the jokes never falls flat, and the action scenes were remarkably well-choreographed. Just the one thing that bothers me in retrospect is SPOILERS!! how Po managed to single handedly defeat Tai Lung. This question was in my mind as the movie moved towards the final showdown, I was thinking how they would pull off Po fulfilling his destiny and making Tai Lung’s defeat at his hand believable. I mean, here we have 5 martial arts experts, each a master of their own discipline who have trained all their lives and been mentored for a showdown with a seemingly indefeatable and extremely dangerous opponent – and suddenly this bumbling panda who can barely lift a punch against a punching bag takes him on single-handedly. Maybe I’m looking too much into it, or maybe it’s meant to fit into the whole “believe in the impossible” message of the movie, but that just didn’t seem very plausible at all.

  • Billy Bob

    Well for what it was, (generic summer popcorn flick) it was great!

    I thought it was perfectly paced, not too long not too short. Jack Black did the role of Po perfectly, and I can’t capitalize on the description of awesome and win that is the performance of Dustan Hoffman.

    Design was BEAUTIFUL, and of course the 2d was too cool for words.

    Also, the Kung Fu Fightin remix was pretty boss too.