From noodles to Kung Fu

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By Quninn McCulloch

Po, a rather lazy, oversized panda, is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps as the next in a bloodline of noodle makers in China.

Little does his father know that Po’s true passion lies not in the hot bowls of “secret ingredient soup,” but in the ancient art of Kung Fu.

One day when a Kung Fu Master, Oogway, is to announce who will be the Dragon Warrior to protect their city from the evil Tai Lung, Po sneaks out of his father’s shop to check out the action. He never suspects that his innocent attendance at the Dragon Warrior ceremony is about change his life, and the future of China, forever.

Let me start off by saying I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this movie. I kind of went into the theater with fairly low expectations after hearing about the goofy plot line of this movie.

I’ll admit, the story line was clich and dragged on at times. It was fairly easy to predict what was going to happen during the movie, but honestly the underlying pizzazz of this movie lies not in the storyline, but in its characters.

Not only is the list of characters originalee a panda, a preying mantis and a wise old tortoise, but the energy behind the characters comes largely from the diverse cast that voices them. Jack Black voices Po, and is perfect as a kind and clumsy glut. You can just picture him physically acting out his character’s lines in front of a condenser mic during sound booth recordings.

Angelina Jolie sets the sultry and mysterious mystique of Tigress, and portrays the inner conflicts of her character well. Dustin Hoffman does the voice of Shifu, a dynamic Kung Fu master who largely carries the feeling behind the whole movie. I’m still not quite sure what animal species Shifu belongs to, but nevertheless his character is still powerful and humorous.

I don’t think anyone is going to say that this is the best animated feature they’ve ever seen or anything like that, but it was a lot of fun to see. If the crowds at the Reel Deal are any indication, this movie will be a popular summer diversion. When I went to the theater last Sunday for a matinee, I was surprised to find out that the show had sold out, and my wife, son and I returned for a later showing. This one is rated PG, and the kids in the theater had a great time.

If you have a passion for watching Kung Fu movies, or if you’re in the mood for some laughs and a break from reality for 88 minutes, then go check this one out.

My score: 2.5/5 kernels