Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Kung Fu Panda (Pandamonium Two-Pack)”

(Dreamworks Home Entertainment. 1 hour, 28 minutes. Color. Widescreen. Rated PG. Directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne.) Jack Black (Po), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu), Ian MacShane (Tai Lung), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Lucy Liu (Viper), David Cross (Crane), Seth Rogen (Mantis), Jackie Chan (Monkey). Music by Hans Zimmer and John Powell.

Po, a panda working at his father’s noodle shop, is identified by the great kung fu master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim in a spot-on performance) as the Dragon Warrior who must join Shifu and the Furious Five to save the valley from the vicious Tai Lung (MacShane, savage and effective). Sure, the plot is cliched and the tropes have worn a bit thin, but with a well-written script, fantastic art direction and a great performance by Black, it’s a fun and funny parody of old kung fu movies. One of the highlights of the script is the lack of obvious pop culture references that can horribly date a movie, of which Dreamworks is frequently guilty. The cast is solid and meshes well, though many are underutilized, especially Rogen, Cross and Chan. However, this deficiency isn’t felt too deeply due to some of Dreamworks’s best visual work and some extremely well-executed martial arts animation. Also included in this package is a bonus DVD, Kung Fu Panda in Secrets of the Furious Five, a fun little short showing the beginnings of the Furious Five. The story is light and strictly kid-stuff, but the superb art and animation really help. Both discs are chock full of extras, including games and activities for the kids, as well as featurettes about the making of the movie, the history of kung fu and other aspects of Chinese culture. I especially enjoyed the noodle tutorial with the Food Network’s Alton Brown. Fun for the whole family.

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Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies. After being hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, he proceeded to bounce between...

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