Kung Fu Panda Review— Panda Dada Ko Jai Bolo!…Panda Dada Zindabad!

I fell in love with Kung Fu Panda and it’s concept way back in May 2008 when I saw the trailors on Y! Movies. Since then I have been waiting to watch this film. It is quite a shame that such a gem-of-a-film, which released on June 6th only released in Hyderabad on August 15th and a bigger shame is that I saw it so late. I was also annoyed with Hyderabad multiplexes as none brought it in to their plexes, instead Prasads was kind enough to use its monoply might and forced everybody to watch it on IMAX for Rs.200/per ticket. Now, that is the biggest shame. I tried to boycott the film at Prasads and wait for the DVD, but I could wait no more to watch Kung Fu Panda, which is a total joy ride from first frame to last.

Kung Fu Panda is about a “fat” Panda named Po, his passion and desire to be a Kung Fu Master and his boring real life job of a cook making Noodles. The film opens in grand style showing a Kung Fu Master that has mastered the elements and everybody around him are in awe and shock, but the Master wakes up from his dream to his reality (reminded me of Megastar’s Gang Leader opening sequence). Po faces an internal conflict about his passion and his job for a living working in the family’s Noodle shop. He is unable to tell his father about his Kung Fu dream, but mentions that he had a Noodle Dream. Hearing this, the father is excited and is happy to inform Po that soon he will tell him the secret ingredient in the noodle soup. Meanwhile, there is something mystic and exciting brewing elsewhere to shape and determine the destinies of their village and Po’s. Legend has it that one day the Dragon Warrior, the destined person who will read the Dragon Scroll, will be chosen by the Master Turtle. Only the Dragon Warrior can bring peace to their land and fight the evil Tai Lung (the white Tiger) that is destined to escape from prison and wreak havoc in their land. Master Shifu has already trained five warriors who are referred to as the Furious Five (Viper, Mantis, Monkey, Tigress, Crane) to fight evil and bring peace. It is expected that one of the five will be chosen to be the Dragon Warrior. But everyone is in for a surprise when the fat, sloppy, and lazy Po is chosen!

Shifu is furious initially, but comes to terms with the decision of his Master and wants to test the Panda. Even the furious five are upset with him and do not welcome Po leaving him to contemplate on his sad state of affairs. But Po is reinvigorated when the Master Turtle tells him that he must understand his destiny and believe in himself and believe in his own potential. Master Shiffu also is asked to believe and trains Po to fight Tail Lung that has escaped from prison. It is also revealed that Master Shifu had adopted Tai Lung and trained him, but when the Master Turtle did not choose him as the Dragon Warrior, the evil in the Tiger was unleashed. Now, with even the furious five failing to stop the Tiger, our hero Panda-Dada Po succeeds in stopping him. In this process he learns about the power of self-confidence and to beleive in one self. Po also learns from his father that there is no secret ingredient in the soup, in reality, and that what is needed is belief that one’s own potential is the answer to success.

The story written above might sound like a serious film, but every line above is backed by sequences that are funny and hilarious. You’ve just got to watch the film to enjoy the humor. If you like Jack Black’s (voice of Po) style of dialogue delivery then you will have double fun watching this film. The following scenes are highlight:

(1) The attempts of Po to enter the Palace and how he lands from the sky on a seat fitted with fireworks to be proclaimed the Dragon Warrior.

(2) All the scenes that involve training Po–absolutely hilarious.

(3) The scene where Po is doing push-ups with dumplings beneath.

(4) Towards the climax when Po thinks Shifu is dieing as he closes his eyes only to be shouted back by Shifu that he is only resting and not dieing.

(5) The Master Turtle telling Shifu that there is no good or bad news, only news, but exclaims that Tai Lung’s escape is indeed bad news.

(5) The climax fight with the Evil Tiger. Particularly, the one where as the Tiger is strangling Shify, Po comes up the stairs panting for breadth to surprise and shock the Tiger that he is “the fat Panda”

The technology in the film is simply superb. And on IMAX it is just beautiful. Like most Hollywood animated films, this film too has high technology and a heart and soul. It has humor and with Jack Black’s voice for the Panda it is just hilarious to watch this Chineese Panda talking in American slang! The message of the film too is sweet, simple, and effective. The message reinforces the beleif in destiny and self confidence. In the case of the film—you need to be destined to even realize that the power and secret of success is within You. This is why Po was selected because he was destined to realize the power within. Another beautiful message is that the Dragon Warrior, or a supreme warrior is someone who will bring peace, not war, to the people and land. Thus, in today’s world it means that to be powerful means you must bring peace and stability to people. This is a very piognant and powerful message that be meditated upon at length.

Dreamworks Animations has already announced a sequel to Kung Fu Panda that is expected to release on June 3rd, 2011. The DVD of Kung Fu Panda will be out on November 9. I know friends of mine who have seen this film on a pirated CD. Please, do yourself a favor, watch this film either in theater or on an original DVD. If not for the story or message, just watch it for the work and effort put in by the artists and technicians behind this film. The same applies for other animated films like Wall-E.

Mr. Inkenti’s Movienomics Verdict: Two Thumbs Up!

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