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Kung Fu Panda 1, All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

Jul 12, 2022
Kung Fu Panda 1, All You Want To Know & Watch About A Great Movie

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

“Kung Fu Panda” is a story that almost tells itself in its title. It is so hard to imagine a big, fuzzy panda performing martial-arts encounters that you intuit (and you will be right) that the panda stars in an against-all-odds formula, which dooms him to succeed. For the panda’s target audience, children and younger teens, that will be just fine, and the film presents his adventures in wonderfully drawn Cinemascope animation. (It will also be showing in some IMAX venues.)The film stars a panda named Po (voice of Jack Black), who is so fat he can barely get out of bed. He works for his father, Mr. Ping (James Hong) in a noodle shop, which features Ping’s legendary Secret Ingredient. How Ping, apparently a stork or other billed member of the avian family, fathered a panda is a mystery, not least to Po, but then the movie is filled with a wide variety of creatures who don’t much seem to notice their differences.

They live in the beautiful Valley of Peace with an ancient temple towering overhead, up zillions of steps, which the pudgy Po can barely climb. But climb them he does, dragging a noodle wagon, because all the people of the valley have gathered up there to witness the choosing of the Dragon Warrior, who will engage the dreaded Tai Lung (Ian McShane) in kung-fu combat.Five contenders have been selected, the “Furious Five”: Monkey (Jackie Chan), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross). Tigress looks like she might be able to do some serious damage, but the others are less than impressive. Mantis in particular seems to weigh about an ounce, tops.

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 movie poster

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Rated PG for kung-fu violence

90 minutes

Cast

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

Directed by

  • Mark Osborne
  • John Stevenson

Written by

  • Jonathan Aibel
  • Glenn Berger

 

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