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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda

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You know, I didn't have very high expectations going in to see Kung Fu Panda. I expected a lot of slapstick, pop-culture jokes, and a lot of smart-ass remarks from Jack Black's panda character. I had no expectations for any real, exciting, actual Kung Fu action.

This time, I'm so glad I was wrong.

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First of all, the action sequences are inventive and intense. Better still, it had a great sense of danger and fun, with some great camera work that could only be done in CGI to enhance the action. I could see that some sequences could be a little too violent for the little ones, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. How come no one had done CGI Martial Arts movies before? It's such a great combination.

The humor and action both parodied and paid tribute to the long history of Chinese Martial Arts movies. There was a lot of physical comedy, and the fat panda jokes did keep coming. But they were clever and funny most of the time and the humor remained very good natured and likable. There is just something undeniably funny about a big fat panda doing kung fu, and one particular shot in the final fight sequence that was so brutally funny that I kept laughing all the way into the next joke.

Jack Black was doing his usual schtick, of course, but it wasn't over the top. His voice work fit perfectly in the film and so did everyone else's. Actually, that's one thing I really want to mention. There were some big name actors lending their voices to this movie, but they all did a very good job blending into their character. Dreamworks / Paramount did not market this movie on the big stars they got in this film, and I was very happy to not be distracted trying to figure out who did whose voice during the movie.

Overall it was a thoroughly entertaining movie, the action was a ton of fun and it got big laughs from the audience and me throughout the movie. I'd also venture as far to say that unless you were born to hate kung fu movies or if for some reason you can't stand Jack Black's work, you'd have a great time.

Kung Fu Panda opens June 6.

Photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures.