Kung Fu Panda 1, All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie
To everyone’s surprise, including his own, Po, an overweight, clumsy panda, is chosen as protector of the Valley of Peace. His suitability will soon be tested as the valley’s arch-enemy is on his way.
Kung Fu Panda 1 is a 2008 American computer-animated action comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the first installment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise.
Directed by John Stevenson (in his feature directorial debut) and Mark Osborne, the film stars the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong, Dan Fogler, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Jackie Chan. The film is set in a version of ancient China populated by anthropomorphic animals and revolves around a bumbling panda named Po, a kung-fu enthusiast.
When a notorious snow-leopard named Tai Lung is foretold to escape from prison, Po is unwittingly named the “Dragon Warrior” – a prophesised hero worthy of reading a scroll said to grant its reader limitless power.
The film was originally conceived by Michael Lachance, a DreamWorks Animation executive. It was originally intended to be a parody of martial arts films, but director Stevenson decided instead to make an action-comedy wuxia film that incorporates the hero’s journey narrative archetype for the lead character.
The computer animation in the film was more complex than anything DreamWorks had done before. As with most DreamWorks Animation films, Hans Zimmer (this time collaborating with John Powell) scored Kung Fu Panda. He visited China to absorb the culture and get to know the China National Symphony Orchestra as part of his preparation.
Kung Fu Panda premiered in the United States on June 6, 2008. The film received positive reviews for its mature themes, faithfulness to the Chinese environment and tradition, action sequences, and writing. Kung Fu Panda opened in 4,114 theaters, grossing $20.3 million on its opening day and $60.2 million on its opening weekend, resulting in the number one position at the box office.
The film became DreamWorks’ biggest opening for a non-sequel film, making it the third highest grossing film of 2008, the highest-grossing animated film of the year worldwide, and also had the fourth-largest opening weekend for a DreamWorks film at the American and Canadian box office, behind all three Shrek sequels.
The movie was nominated for the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for best animated film, but lost both awards to WALL-E. The success of Kung Fu Panda launched a multimedia franchise and two sequels, with Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016).
Kung Fu Panda 1 trailer
Kung Fu Panda 1 Reviews
All five have been trained (for nearly forever, I gather) by the wise Shifu, who with Dustin Hoffman’s voice is one of the more dimensional characters in a story that doesn’t give the others a lot of depth. Anyway, it’s up to the temple master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), an ancient turtle, to make the final selection, and he chooses — yes, he chooses the hapless and pudgy Po.
The story then becomes essentially a series of action sequences, somewhat undermined by the fact that the combatants seem unable to be hurt, even if they fall from dizzying heights and crack stones open with their heads. There’s an extended combat with Tai Lung on a disintegrating suspension bridge (haven’t we seen that before?), hand-to-hand-to-tail combat with Po and Tai Lung, and upstaging everything, an energetic competition over a single dumpling.
“Kung Fu Panda” is not one of the great recent animated films. The story is way too predictable, and truth to tell, Po himself didn’t overwhelm me with his charisma. But it’s elegantly drawn, the action sequences are packed with energy, and it’s short enough that older viewers will be forgiving. For the kids, of course, all this stuff is much of a muchness, and here they go again.
Kung Fu Panda 1 Film Credits
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Jack Black as Po
Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu
Angelina Jolie as Tigress
Ian McShane as Tai Lung
Seth Rogen as Mantis
Lucy Liu as Viper
David Cross as Crane
Randall Duk Kim as Oogway
James Hong as Mr. Ping
Dan Fogler as Zeng
Michael Clarke Duncan as Commander Vachir
Jackie Chan as Monkey
- Mark Osborne
- John Stevenson
- Jonathan Aibel
- Glenn Berger
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