Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2008. DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images. Story by Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, Screenplay by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger. Cinematography by Yong Duk Jhun. Produced by Melissa Cobb. Music by John Powell, Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Raymond Zibach. Film Editing by Clare De Chenu. Academy Awards 2008. Golden Globe Awards 2008. Online Film Critics Awards 2008.
Po is a panda bear (voiced by Jack Black) whose duck father wants him to grow up and become a master of noodle soup like himself. Po dreams of more, however, spending his days fantasizing that he is a martial-arts champion who wows all of China with his mad skills. On the day that a great master of kung fu is to choose the next “Dragon Warrior”, Po accidentally gets in the way of the five highly-trained, super-styling candidates for the job and suddenly finds himself holding the position. Trouble is, he’s a big, flabby bear with no previous training who now has to take on the arch-villain of all time when the master teacher’s arch nemesis (Ian McShane) is released from prison. Dustin Hoffman contributes a superb performance as the second-in-command kung fu trainer who needs to get over his prejudice and show this big furball a thing or two about self-defense. An adorable story, charming characters, terrific voice work (which also includes Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu and David Cross) combine with archly creative and attractive animation for a thoroughly enjoyable comedy romp. The kids will be delighted and adults will never be bored. The animation is so superbly achieved that your eye will be far too entertained for your brain to mind the forgettable plot.