Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 11, 2008
KUNG FU PANDA
Voices: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie
Direction : John Stevenson & Mark Osborne
Rating : ****
Whether it’s ants, ogres or penguins, there has been a glut of animation flicks featuring ultra-cute critters with celebrity voices. Add a giant panda to the list.
Obviously inspired by the chopsocky spoof, Kung Fu Hustle (2005), this feelgood fantasy blends consistently amusing animated characters with wondrous visuals.
DreamWorks, which produced the cartoon milestones Shrek and Madagascar, escort the viewer to a peaceful realm in ancient China. And as it happens, there’s plenty for children as well as adults and children to relate to in this entertainer about Po a podgy panda (dubbed with whooping enthusiasm by Black).
The laziest animal in the entire kingdom, Po reluctantly agrees to protect his fellow furries from the wrath of a formidable nemesis (Ian McShane, gleefully menacing).
Learning his skills from a group of fabled warriors (Jolie-Lucy Liu-Jackie Chan) led by their wizened guru (Dustin Hoffman, suitably benign), Po transforms from a kung fu novice to martial arts expert. Get set, then, for pure panda-monium
Co-directed by music-video helmer Osborne and veteran animator Stevenson, Kung fu Panda appeals as much to the heart as to the mind. It’s guaranteed to have you walking out of the multiplex with a big smile on your face. Enjoy.