June 11, 2009

Now that Jack Black is a daddy, he’s got to start churning out films that his kids can watch.

Kung Fu Panda is certainly watchable. I wasn’t sure that Jack Black could translate his trademark vulgar humor into kid friendly fare, but he picked the right vehicle and the right character. I mean come one, he looks like a big, fat cuddly panda! Jack Black stars as Po, a rabid martial arts fan, working in his dad’s noodle shop. (Side note: Why is Po’s father a duck? This is never addressed…) Po is anointed as the “chosen one” to receive the Dragon Scroll and save the village from the evil Tai Lung. Yeah, there’s nothing original about the storyline – an unlikely hero overcomes everyone’s expectations to save the day, but since when has originality been important in children’s films?

I’ll give Dustin Hoffman credit where credit is due – I didn’t recognize his voice as Shifu…he’s that good.

The Furious Five was a mixed bag. David Cross as Crane – yes! Seth Rogen as Mantis – oh yeah! Jackie Chan as Monkey – well, okay. Lucy Liu as Snake – hmmm, if you say so. Angelina Jolie as Tigress – seriously?

Angelina Jolie was completely underwhelming as Tigress. Her acting is not so much emoting with her voice, so maybe she should stick to the live action stuff. Is this the first film that she’s made that her kids can even watch? Well, I guess her kids can watch her in A Shark’s Tale, but then again they may want to avoid it – I heard it was pretty shitty.

During Po’s workout scene, am I the only one who thought, “COCK PUSH-UPS?!?!?!?!”

I really liked the opening sequence, stylized to look like traditional Chinese storybooks. It reminded me of the Monkey King storybooks that my grandmother gave me as a child.

Sequel is due out in 2011. Meh.


Year – 2008
Rating – PG
Runtime – 92 minutes
Genre – Dreamworks Computer Animation
Director(s) – Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
Writer(s) – Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Actor(s) – Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angeline Jolie, David Cross, Ian McShane
BOB Rating – Two BOBs
Favorite Quote – "Oh! My tenders!" - Po (Jack Black)