Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kung Fu Panda - DVD Review

KUNG FU PANDA (***) - Starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross and Randall Duk Kim.

DreamWorks's bright and zippy CG-animated tale may have looked slight compared to Wall-E, but I'll take Po the Panda over Shrek any day.

Jack Black is the front-and-center vocal star of this amiable send-up of kung fu movies. Somehow Po stumbles into the middle of a prophecy, and master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) must train this inept, doughy thing into a martial-arts master so he can fulfill said prophecy.

The message - "Believe in yourself" - is simplistic, but I enjoyed Po's unflappable optimism, even as Shifu and all his students are trying to get Po to quit. There's plenty of laughs from the physical humor, in grand Looney Tunes tradition. The budget exceeded $100 million, so the animation is lush and vivid, much better than the quick cheapies like Happily N'Ever After.

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