MIT Media Lab research assistant and graduate student
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Kung Fu Panda
I was not so sure ... Dreamworks was, after all, responsible for that Shrek atrocity, and Jack Black is not exactly my idea of fine comedy. But I must say that I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by Kung Fu Panda all the same. Visually stunning, it features grand backdrops, diverse styles and great detail in object rendering and physics. The frequent parody of slow-motion was not frequent enough to be annoying, thank goodness; in fact, it was very well timed. The whole Chinese theme was carried through very commendably, from the opening screen to the finale. The fight scenes looked very genuine and elegant, and the ever-moving point-of-view made for really engaged spectatorship. Character development was also very good, and plot points were funny without being silly. The humor consisted of a perfect harmony of slapstick and subtlety - no small achievement. And the constellation of stars in the voice cast (even for cameo-length speaking roles) did a great job with their respective characters, especially Dustin Hoffman, Ian McShane and Jack Black. A strongly recommended film.