Kung-Fu Panda - Cinema Review

Kung-Fu Panda is, in essence, a vehicle for Jack Black to do as much lyrical pratting around as possible while never actually gracing our screen apart from in the guise of said digitally animated rather rotund beastie.

Following a pretty typical Kung-Fu plot (underdog must train his way to be ‘The Best’ while all the while fighting against people continually telling him he’s the underdog and the impending approach of an evil dude/event/other uncertified problem) Panda cutifies the genre to appeal to the Shrek generation in a relatively engaging and funky way. The visuals cope well with the fast action as the characters (many voiced by real a-list stars; Jolie, Liu, Rogen, Chan) leap between rooftops, treetops and Dustin Hoffman’s mop-top.

The aforementioned Hoffman seems to have carved a little Hollywood niche where he has safely gone to retire as an assortment of characters (Bernie Focker, Professor Jules Hilbert, Shifu) who all quite comfortably fit into the ‘a little bit cooky and occasionally as barmy as a summer’s day in Dubai’ category. It’s a little bit odd to find the man who played Carl Bernstein in such a position but entertainingly odd none the less and if that’s what Hoffman wants to do with his retirement then who the hell am I to question otherwise?

The film itself progresses nicely to a conclusion that, lets face it, was never going to be in the Seven-esque ‘my God…they didn’t’ category of endings. It’s entertaining enough fair with some decent jokes that did make me laugh out loud a couple of times watching it, as I did, in the middle of a plane full of snoring people somewhere over the Atlantic. At least it was better than watching Airplane! in that situation, which I notice some airlines now include in their services for either a) a little bit of a giggle or b) to try and convince as many people as possible never to fly again!

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