Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda is a 2008 American computer-animated action comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by John Wayne Stevenson and Mark Osborne and produced by Melissa Cobb, and stars the voice of Jack Black along with Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Randall Duk Kim, James Hong, Dan Fogler and Michael Clarke Duncan. Set in a version of ancient China populated by anthropomorphic animals, the plot revolves around a bumbling panda named Po who aspires to be a kung fu master. When an evil kung fu warrior is foretold to escape from prison, Po is unwittingly named the chosen one destined to bring peace to the land, much to the chagrin of the resident kung fu warriors.

Although the concept of a "kung fu panda" has been around since at least 1993, work on the film did not begin until 2004.The idea for the film was conceived by Michael Lachance,a DreamWorks Animation executive. The film was originally intended to be a parody, but director Stevenson decided instead to shoot an action comedy Wuxia film that incorporates the hero's journey narrative archetype for the lead character. The computer animation in the film was more complex than anything DreamWorks had done before. As with most DreamWorks animated films, Hans Zimmer (collaborating with John Powell this time) scored Kung Fu Panda. He visited China to absorb the culture and get to know the China National Symphony Orchestra as part of his preparation. A sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2, was released on May 26, 2011.

Kung Fu Panda premiered in the United States on June 6, 2008, and has since received very favorable reviews from critics and most of the movie-going public, including Chinese audiences who were impressed with the film's faithfulness to their culture. The film currently garners an 88% "Certified Fresh" approval rating from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Kung Fu Panda opened in 4,114 theaters, grossing $20.3 million on its opening day and $60.2 million on its opening weekend, resulting in the number one position at the box office. The film became DreamWorks's biggest opening for a non-sequel film, highest grossing animated movie of the year, the fourth-largest weekend for a DreamWorks animated film at the American and Canadian box office, behind Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and Shrek Forever After,and the 50th highest-grossing film of all time.

Plot

The story is set in the Valley of Peace, a fictional land in ancient China inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Po (Jack Black), a young, clumsy, overweight panda, is a kung fu fanatic who idolizes the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross) – a quintet of kung fu masters trained by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) to protect the valley. Because he works in his goose[5] father Ping's (James Hong) noodle restaurant, Po is unable to achieve his dream of becoming a kung fu master himself.

One day, Shifu's mentor, the elderly tortoise Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), has a vision that Shifu's former student and foster son, the evil snow leopard Tai Lung, will escape from prison and return to the Valley of Peace to take revenge for being denied the Dragon Scroll, which is said to hold the secret to limitless power. Shifu holds a kung fu tournament for the Furious Five so that Oogway may identify the legendary Dragon Warrior, the one kung fu master worthy of receiving the Dragon Scroll and capable of defeating Tai Lung. Forced to take a noodle cart to the tournament, Po arrives after the doors to the tournament arena close and is unable to enter. Desperate to see the Dragon Warrior be chosen, Po straps himself to a set of fireworks and rockets into the sky. Po crashes into the middle of the arena at the moment when Oogway is to point out the Dragon Warrior, and to the surprise of everyone present, Oogway chooses Po.

Unwilling to believe that a big fat panda could be the Dragon Warrior, Shifu attempts to dispatch Po by berating and ridiculing him into quitting his training with the Furious Five, who similarly despise and mock Po for his lack of skill in kung fu. After receiving helpful advice from Oogway, however, Po endures his grueling training and slowly begins to endear himself to the Five with his tenacity, culinary skill, and good humor. Meanwhile, Tai Lung (Ian McShane) escapes from prison as foreseen by Oogway, ironically picking his locks with the feather of Shifu's messenger Zeng (Dan Fogler), who had come to warn of Tai Lung's impending escape. Oogway makes Shifu promise to train Po before his ascension. Still unable to grasp the basics of kung fu and confessing a crippling self-loathing, Po despairs that he has no chance of defeating Tai Lung. Shifu, however, discovers that he is capable of impressive physical feats when motivated by food. Using food as positive reinforcement, Shifu successfully trains Po to incorporate these feats into a makeshift yet effective kung fu style.

Meanwhile, the Furious Five set out to stop Tai Lung themselves, only to be overwhelmed and defeated. Shifu decides Po is ready to receive the Dragon Scroll, but the scroll reveals nothing but a blank, reflective surface. In despair, Shifu orders Po and the Five to evacuate the valley while he delays Tai Lung as long as possible in a fight to the death. The dejected Po finds his father who, in an attempt to console him, reveals that the long-withheld secret ingredient to his famous "secret ingredient soup" is nothing, explaining that things become special if people believe them to be. Realizing that this concept is the point of the Dragon Scroll, Po returns to the Jade Palace to confront Tai Lung, who has reached the Palace and nearly killed Shifu. Po proves to be a formidable challenge for Tai Lung as he tries to protect the Dragon Scroll. Though the Dragon Scroll eventually falls into Tai Lung's grasp, he is unable to understand or accept its symbolic meaning, and Po ultimately defeats him using the secret Wuxi Finger Hold, a technique that Shifu threatened to use on Po when he was first chosen as the Dragon Warrior. Po is praised by the Valley of Peace and earns the respect of the Furious Five, who fully acknowledge him as a true kung fu master. Shifu, exhausted but alive after his fight with Tai Lung, is finally at peace with himself now that peace has returned to the valley.


Cast

Jack Black as the film's main protagonist Po who is a Giant panda
Dustin Hoffman as Shifu, a Red Panda
Angelina Jolie as Tigress, a South China Tiger
Ian McShane as the film's main antagonist Tai Lung who is a Snow Leopard
Jackie Chan as Monkey, a Gee's golden langur
Seth Rogen as Mantis, a Chinese mantis
Lucy Liu as Viper, a Green Tree Viper
David Cross as Crane, a Red-crowned Crane
Randall Duk Kim as Oogway, a Galápagos tortoise
James Hong as Mr. Ping, a Chinese goose
Dan Fogler as Zeng, a Chinese goose
Michael Clarke Duncan as Commander Vachir, a Javan Rhinoceros
Wayne Knight as Gang Boss



Release

The film held its worldwide premiere at the 61st Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2008, where it received massive and sustained applause at the end of the film's screening.Kung Fu Panda later had national premieres in the United States on June 1, 2008 at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California,and on June 26, 2008 at Leicester Square in London, for the United Kingdom.

Kung Fu Panda was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 9,2008. The special features include an animated short film starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross, a Kung Fu Fighting music video by Cee-Lo Green and Jack Black, a tutorial on how to use chopsticks, sound, The Tech of Kung Fu Panda, The Cast of Kung Fu Panda, deleted and alternate scenes, cast interviews and biographies with Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross, The Premiere of Kung Fu Panda, interactive games and more. The movie can be purchased as a stand-alone DVD or as part of a two-disc pack that includes the companion story Secrets of the Furious Five.On its first week (ending Nov. 19, 2008) it sold 2,667,861 units ($42,530,240) and 9,029,480 units in total, becoming the second highest-grossing animated film of 2008, behind WALL-E (9,034,425 DVD units).

Awards

Kung Fu Panda had been shortlisted for nomination for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.However, both awards were won by Pixar's WALL-E instead. This was parodied by the film's main voice actor, Jack Black, at the 81st Academy Awards, saying "Each year I do one DreamWorks project, then I take all the money to the Oscars and bet it on Pixar."

By contrast, Kung Fu Panda won 11 Annie Awards (including Best Picture) out of 16 nominations, albeit amid controversy.

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