Kung Fu Panda / Secrets of the Furious Five


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Rating: PG

Jack Black as Po (voice)
Dustin Hoffman as Shifu (voice)
Angelina Jolie as Tigress (voice)
Ian McShane as Tai Lung (voice)
Jackie Chan as Monkey (voice)
Seth Rogen as Mantis (voice)
Lucy Liu as Viper (voice)
David Cross as Crane (voice)
Randall Duk Kim as Oogway (voice)
James Hong as Mr. Ping (voice)
Dan Fogler as Zeng (voice)
Michael Clarke Duncan as Commander Vachir (voice)
Wayne Knight as Gang Boss (voice)
Kyle Gass as KG Shaw (voice)
JR Reed as JR Shaw (voice)

Special Features:
Dragon Warrior Training Academy
Food Network Exclusive: Alton Brown at Mr. Ping’s Noodle House
“Kung Fu Fighting” Music Video
How to Use Chopsticks
Help Save The Wild Pandas
Plus, Awesome Activities and Behind-the-Scenes Fun!

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 88 Minutes

The following is from the official DVD description:

“Prepare for awesomeness with DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Kung Fu Panda.’ Jack Black is perfect as the voice of Po, a noodle slurping dreamer who must embrace his true self – fuzzy flaws and all – in order to become the Dragon Warrior.”

“Kung Fu Panda” is rated PG for sequences of martial arts action.

I saw this in the theater with my family and we enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s one of those rare family films that’s actually entertaining for both adults and children.

For the adults, there’s some great action here. The battle scenes between Tai Lung and the Furious Five are quite cool. The build up to the battle between him and Po is perfectly executed. Adults will also appreciate the performances by the voice cast. Jack Black is perfectly cast as Po. He’s a bit more restrained than he is in many of his live action performances, but this is easily his best animated performance. He delivers the right mix of humor, sincerity, and improvisation. Dustin Hoffman is also good as Shifu, his master. His exasperation with Po is amusing and perfectly builds up to his eventual acceptance of the pudgy panda. As for the rest of the cast, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, and Jackie Chan all do a fine job with their voice performances, but they don’t stand out nearly as much as Black and Hoffman.

As for the kids, they’re going to love the humor. Po’s kung fu antics are hilarious and the subtle animation with his character is perfect. He’s able to generate a laugh with the most minor facial expression. It also has a good message for kids about using your unique characteristics as a strength rather than being ashamed of them.

The only time the film really falters is when it gets ‘serious,’ but I suppose you can’t expect it to be laugh out loud hilarious for the entire running time.

If you love animation, comedies, or Jack Black, “Kung Fu Panda” is a film you’re going to want to check out. There’s something here for everyone.

You may also want to pick up the two pack that comes with the bonus DVD “Secrets of the Furious Five”. I expected it to be a full CGI 3-D movie, but it wasn’t. It was mostly 2-D like in the opening sequence of “Kung Fu Panda.” If you can get past that, though, you’ll enjoy it. The short covers the origins of each of the Furious Five and talks about what each of them had to overcome to become a kung fu warrior. Most of the original voice cast takes part in this – Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, and David Cross all are included. It’s a fun bookend to the main feature.

You’ll find a few bonus features included on the DVD. There’s a featurette that covers some basic kung fu moves and the various styles associated with it. Another featurette with a Food Network host shows how noodles are made. It’s surprisingly entertaining. You’ll also find a video on real pandas, how to use chopsticks, and a music video. A ‘making of’ video rounds things out and features interviews with all the cast. “Secrets of the Furious Five” also includes additional bonus features on martial arts, dancing, drawing, and other stuff for kids.