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Old Chinese Proverb Say Kung Fu Panda Actually Good

Po the Panda

By Brian Dunning

I guess what I took from Kung Fu Panda was that looks can be deceiving. It’s the central theme of the movie — a tubby panda bear name Po who works at a noodle soup shop wants to be a martial arts legend, and has to overcome the perception that fatties can’t be kung fu masters —but also applies to Dreamworks Animation.

I hate Dreamworks Animation movies — they have been, with the exception of the first Shrek movie, cheap, name-checking, bloated imitations of Pixar’s far superior work. First there was A Bug’s Life, to which Dreamworks shat out Antz as direct competition. Then there was Finding Nemo, to which Dreamworks gave us the animated version of 2girls1cup – Shark Tale.

Shark Tale is one of the worst fucking movies I have ever seen. I would say that it’s a hodgepodge of mobster-movie spoofing and sight gags revolving around the animals resembling their voice-over actors, but that would be offensive to hodgepodges. Oh look, that fish has big lips like Renée Zellweger! Robert De Niro is a good shark because he is mean like a shark.

Then came Madagascar and Over the Hedge and yet another Shrek movie and then, finally, Bee Movie. They all suffered from Dreamworksitis, best defined as: “suffering from formulaic representation of human celebrities as their direct animal counterparts; lack of creativity; story and character development secondary to box office gross.”

Which is why I was expecting Kung Fu Panda to suck. And to suck hard. I hated the trailer. The only part that made me laugh was Jack Black’s seemingly-misplaced “Skedouche” line. And that only made me laugh because it was Jack Black. That’s what I expect from him, and I was disappointed at the prospect of seeing his persona milked (again by Dreamworks – see Shark Tale) for the movie. But then something funny happened.

The movie. It was funny. I saw it and loved it. It was beautifully animated, had an amazing sense of speed and adventure. It was an hour and 30 minutes of pure fun and humor. The characters were characters. The story was a story, and while it used kung fu as a point of humor, it wasn’t a spoof.

But as much as I loved Kung Fu Panda, I wish could say that it was the turning point for Dreamworks Animation. But I think that this was just a rare one-off movie. Next on the slate are another Madagascar movie and more Shrek sequels. And that makes me a sad panda.

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One Response

  1. Be the first to like this. Four years later

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