Blu-ray Review: Kung Fu Panda

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Kung Fu Panda
Paramount Home Entertainment(Dreamworks Animation)
Blu-ray Disc Review By Jerry Rutledge

I highly recommend Kung Fu Panda for any collector, especially with a family – it is a highly entertaining, heart filled animated comedy from Dreamworks.

Po, a rather large, flabby and furry, black and white panda (voiced by Jack Black) dreams of some day becoming a martial arts master.  His father, Mr. Ping, is a goose than runs a noodle shop (voice by James Hong) who plans for his son to some day take over the family business.  Po, who is too out of shape to climb the thousand stairs to the temple where the kung fu festival is being held, plans to use rockets to allow him to ascend.  His plans result in an explosive and comic entrance into the festival grounds .  He is chosen to fulfill his destiny as the Dragon Warrior by the current spiritual leader of the temple, Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) rather than a student trained by kung fu Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) — one of the Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross), and Mantis (Seth Rogen).

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The Dreamworks animation in Kung Fu Panda looks spectacular on Blu-ray Disc.  The detailed and unique kung fu movements of each of the Furious Five animal characters are hypnotic.  The background scenery is breathtaking.  Gold and jade temples are bathed in red sunsets, villages in valleys are surrounded by lush green forests and mist laden, snowy peaks.  The scene of Master Oogway’s passage surrounded by swirling peach blossoms and the accompanying swell of Chinese woodwinds in a star lit sky is sublime.

The plot is solid family fare – never become discouraged, learn to become comfortable with yourself and you will be able to achieve your dreams with practice and hard work.  Po is eventually able to find his inner strength and confront the evil Tai Lung (Ian McShane) a former student of Master Shifu who left in a jealous rage because Master Oogway did not choose Tai Lung to become the Dragon Warrior.

Extras are worth the price of the Disc alone.  There are two video games – Dragon Warrior Training Academy and Dumpling Shuffle – and a wide variety of other diverse features including: a documentary about the kung fu fighting styles and the animals they are based upon, learning your Chinese Zodiac animal sign, a dance video, a saving the panda’s mini-documentary, learning how to eat with chopsticks, Chinese noodle soup making, and a video juke box of songs from other Dreamworks animated films.

     

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