Kung Fu Panda / Secrets of the Furious Five

DVD Reviews | Nov 19th, 2008

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Starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Ian McShane, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Michael Clarke Duncan, Randall Duk Kim
Written By: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Directed By: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
Studio: Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Buy on Amazon.com link

Kung Fu Panda features an all-star cast, a funny story, great animation and is a movie that both kids and adults will enjoy. I thought Kung Fu Panda was a fun flick but left me wanting more.

The story is about Po, a clumsily, Kung-Fu obsessed Panda (Jack Black) who works at his Dad’s noodle restaurant. He dreams and idolizes the Furious Five (no, not Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five) and wants to be like them. Each one is a kung-fu warrior/master and each provides a different talent to the team. The Furious Five includes Tigress (Jolie), Monkey (Chan), Crane (Crosss), Viper (Lui), and Mantis (Rogen). One day, the town gathers to the top of the palace to find out who’s going to be picked as the chosen one. Po tries to get in but the door closes on him. He finally gets in using some fireworks and lands right in the middle of the ceremony. He gets chosen to be the Dragon Warrior and becomes a student to master Shifu (Hoffman). None of them want him in the group, but learn to accept Po. While Po is trying to get accepted from his fellow Kung Fu peers, an enemy is on his way to the palace. Tai Lung, a former pupil of Shifu’s, wants to become the greatest Kung Fu master and learn all the kung fu secrets. But he has to get thru Shifu, The Furious Five and Po first.

I thought the movie was animated very well, Pons character was really funny, and the story was interesting enough that kids will like it and adults won’t be bored by it. It could have been a little bit better though. I felt there should have been more back-story for the characters, especially the Furious Five. I guess that problem is answered in the extra DVD you can purchase called Secrets of the Furious Five. Po tells a bunch of kung fu students about the origins of the group. The 25 minute movie is cute and has some cool 2D style animation you saw in the intro. Watch that the featured film if you like it.

The cast was good, but I felt some people were miscast like Seth Rogen and David Cross. As much as I like those guys, I just don’t think their voices scream out Kung Fu masters to me. I thought Jack Black was a perfect choice and so were Ian McShane and Dustin Hoffman. Jack Black was funny and not as annoying as he usually is. He seemed a bit toned down a bit, which is a good thing. I thought most of the Furious Five were underused, especially when you have talents like Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan. There was clearly not enough for the Furious Five to do. But most kids won’t even realize any of this.

Bonus features include lots of quick featurettes on the making of the movie, how to use chopsticks, help save the pandas, dragon warrior training academy, and a few other things like a music video and audio commentary. I liked watching the behind the scenes stuff on the cast and animation. I always love watching how they do things, even though they don’t go into it that extensively. Besides the making of featurettes, the other extras seemed like fluff to me. Weren’t really that necessary but kids might like them.

Kung Fu Panda is a funny animated movie that adults and kids will like. It was entertaining for me but felt it could have been better in a few areas. If you like the movie, be sure to buy the DVD!

– Dragon Warrior Training Academy
– Food Network Exclusive: Alton Brown at Mr. Ping’s Noodle House
– “Kung Fu Fighting” Music Video
– How to Use Chopsticks
– Help Save The Wild Pandas
– Plus, Awesome Activities and Behind-the-Scenes Fun!

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: I liked the scene when the Furious Five went after Tai Lung, and when Shifu catches Po sneaking snacks in the kitchen.
Rating: PG
Running Time: 88 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: