Po is a big doofus with a big heart and a big love of kung fu. His father (a duck??) would rather he go into the family noodle business, but Po is destined for greatness, just like any good hero. However, he has to get past many obstacles first--from his own clumsiness to a terrifyingly powerful villain. The story is uplifting and exciting, and the message of the Dragon Scroll (or the secret soup ingredient) is powerfully moving without bogging us down in message.
This film has astonishing animation of not only stunning action sequences, but detailed character work as well. None of the characters look stiff or stereotypical, and they all have characteristics of their voice actors without the film degenerating into a celebrity-fest. Definitely the best animated fight scenes I've seen since Ray Harryhausen's skeletons fought off Sinbad's men, and the best comedic timing in fight scenes since Daffy Duck spun his staff and said "Ho-ho, ha-ha, spin, dodge, parry, thrust..." Highlights:
- David Cross as Crane.
- The fight on the suspension bridge.
- Po giggling as the villain tries to hit him--it tickles through the fat!
- Training sequences with steamed buns as motivation. Works for me!
Bottom line: Kung Fu Panda: ***** out of *****
Thanks to http://images.allmoviephoto.com/2008_Kung_Fu_Panda/2008_kung_fu_panda_005.jpg for the image.