tek's rating: ½

Kung Fu Panda (PG)
20th Century Studios; DreamWorks; DreamWorks Wiki; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Universal; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube

Okay, there's this giant panda named Po (Jack Black), whose father, Mr. Ping (James Hong), is a goose, for no apparent reason. Po is really interested in Kung Fu, and idolizes these five masters- Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantiss (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross), collectively known as the "Furious Five." They are all trained by a red panda named Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). However, Po's father wants him to take over the family noodle shop. Anyway, one day there's this tournament wherein Shifu's own master, a tortoise named Oogway, is supposed to choose the legendary Dragon Warrior, who would then be able to read the mysterious Dragon Scroll which was supposed to hold some kind of secret that would make him invincible, or whatever. Po tries to watch the tournament, and ends up falling into the middle of things, and Oogway chooses him as the Dragon Warrior, much to everyone's shock and dismay.

I do want to mention that it seems a bit odd that Po's being a giant panda would garner such disbelief in his abilities, considering that this movie otherwise seems to have no sort of distinction between species or size or anything. As I mentioned, Po's father is a goose, and no one questions this. And all the Kung Fu masters are different sizes, but all are very skilled and powerful; there's one point when Mantiss points out that size shouldn't be an issue, considering how small he himself is. But whatever. Po is fat and clumsy and really has no skills, apparently. So the Furious Five don't want him around, and neither does Shifu. But Oogway insists. Meanwhile, there's this bad guy named Tai Lung, a snow leopard who is the single prisoner in this huge prison with like a thousand guards. Oogway had defeated him long ago, but now he escapes, and begins heading for the Jade Palace, in the hopes of claiming the Dragon Scroll for himself. The Furious Five head off to try to stop him, while Shifu trains Po... who actually does develop some skills.

There are some twists that I don't want to give away, though I will say something Po learns from his father ultimately helps him in his eventual battle against Tai Lung. And we get to learn Tai Lung's backstory, as well, which is kind of sad, though mainly it makes us feel for Shifu. As for the Furious Five, I felt like the only one we really get to know at all is Tigress. There are some other incidental characters I don't even feel like mentioning. Anyway, the movie's pretty decent. I liked the animation and the battles and it was pretty funny and the story was decent, if not all that original. And I guess that's all I can think to say, except that I feel like I might raise my rating if and when I watch the movie a second time.

CGI index
Kung Fu Panda franchise
TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia

movies: Kung Fu Panda * Kung Fu Panda 2 * Kung Fu Panda 3
other: short films * Kung Fu Panda Holiday (TV) * Legends of Awesomeness (TV) * The Paws of Destiny (web)