Everybody loves kung-fu fighting, so why not add some cute animal characters (which everybody also seems to love) and make a movie which everybody loves?
Of course, I’m being facetious. Not everybody will love Kung-Fu Panda, Dreamworks’ latest in “animal-ated” kid’s fare, but not everybody will hate it either. And for good reason. Despite Dreamworks’ streak of rather bland and unoriginal cartoons in recent years (Shreks 2 and 3 come to mind), Kung-Fu Panda manages to fend off the staleness that usually goes hand-in-hand with such formulaic family films.
And formulaic this one is. Our hero, Po the panda (Jack Black), is a loveable misfit with a simple dream; to be a kung-fu master. Needless to say, he faces various trails and tests on his journey, meets a group of celebrity-voiced allies, and a nasty villain (Ian McShane).
King of the Hill writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have filled their script with delightful dialogue exchanges and the expectedly cartoonish visual humour, but never does the comedy seem pre-used or mechanical like other cartoons in theatres these days.
The film is also quite gorgeous to look at. The colours are expressive and vibrant, but not so much so that it’ll give you a splitting headache (cough*speedracer*cough).
Kung-Fu Panda is a summer cartoon with some real kick for once. Simple and innocent fun.
**1/2 out of ****