Kung Fu Panda is the computer animated story of Po, a panda in an ancient China peopled by talking anthropomorphic animals, after he accidentally gets chosen to be the legendary Dragon Warrior, destined to stop the infamous Tai Lung.
Kung Fu Panda utilizes two styles of animation, a hand-drawn sequence for Po’s dream in the beginning, and a computer animated style for the rest of the movie. The textures in the movie are great, especially since most of the characters are covered in fur. The landscape is lush and beautiful, and the buildings feel real. Even the water and mist feel real. And the movement of the characters feels real and yet fantastic, which suits a movie that homages the wuxia genre.
The foreshadowing in Kung Fu Panda is excellent. There are several sequences in the final showdown with Tai Lung that were foreshadowed before and during Po’s training—the thing with the cooking pots covering the Dragon Scroll foreshadowed by the dumpling fight, the elasticity of the local trees, and of course Tai Lung’s own words “What are you going to do? Sit on me?” Yeah, that fight was a lot of fun.
There are also a lot of callbacks in the pictures shown during the credits, and the little post-credits scene is cute.
3—Story and Characters
You can’t separate the story from the characters, which is as it should be. Every choice each character makes has an impact. Po’s desire to see the Dragon Warrior is what leads to him becoming the Dragon Warrior. Shifu’s worry about Tai Lung escaping is what allows it to happen. I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop here.
This was a fun movie with truly touching parts. The action sequences rival that in any kung fu movie. And, surprisingly, Po doesn’t embarrass himself a lot. He’s just so fanboyishly awed by it all, so eager…and yet there’s an underlying self-loathing that it’s so satisfying seeing him overcome. Yet for all the deepness, it’s mostly fun. Recommended.