I watched Get Smart last week and had more than a few laughs. But at the end of it, the feeling that I got was that, though funny, it wasn’t the funniest movie of the year. Turns out that’s true because that title deservedly goes to Kung Fu Panda.
Ever since the success of the Shrek enterprise, animated movies have been looked at as serious cash cows and not just amusement for the kids which has resulted in grander publicity, bigger stars and budgets and slicker animation over the years. But at the end of the day, it’s a well written script that takes a movie places. In that sense none of the animated offerings in recent times save for the Shrek series and Madagascar have been seriously funny. That trend however is changed by the monochromatic, rotund bear from the far-east Po a.k.a. Kung Fu Panda.
Without giving too much of the story away, Kung Fu Panda is about how Po is picked over the ‘Furios Five’ (Monkey, Tigress, Crane, Mantis and Viper) by accident by the Gods as the dragon warrior who must battle the evil Tai Lung and bring peace to the province. The Gods have made a small miscalculation though, Po doesn’t exactly have any Kung-Fu skills. Heck he can’t even see his own toes! But as Grand Master Oogway – the great Kung-fu master and the divine emissary, insists that the Gods never leave anything to chance and hence Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) must work with what he has and keep the faith that Po – the dragon warrior can indeed do something besides eating!
Voiced by Jack Black (who also voiced for Shark Tale), clumsily lovable Po is right up there with the likes of Donkey from Shrek and King Julian from Madagascar when it comes to being absolutely hilarious. Jack Black certainly deserves praise for how well his voice blends with the animated character. That apart Grand Master Oogway, the slow, ever cheerful, all knowing tortoise (Randall Duk Kim) and Mr.Ping the goose (who is Po’s dad!) voiced by James Hong are the other stand-out characters in this movie.
The script and the dialogues are top-notch and in fact draw more attention and applause than the spectacular CGIs. Add the fact that this movie has no unfunny spoofs or unnecessary song and dance and what you get is possibly one of the funniest animated movies you have ever watched. Kung-fu your way through the crowds and watch this one the very day it comes out, it’s that damn good!
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5.
What the Ratings Mean:
0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!