Meanwhile, I had to do something to cheer myself up after the horrible Colorado shooting, so I recently watched Kung Fu Panda on DVD.
I never watched this in the movie theatre because I thought it was going to be like the Shrek franchise, full of pop culture jokes and smarmy characters. Instead, I found to my surprise and delight that this was not a spoof or parody of kung fu movies at all. At times the story is perfectly sincere and heartfelt. Although there is some silly comedy, Po's quest to become the Dragon Warrior, and Tai Lung's fatherhood issues with Master Shifu, were treated with the respect and gravity that they deserved. The old turtle Master Oogway was wonderful too, especially in the scene with the mystical swirl of peach blossoms. Speaking of gorgeous animation, the stylized 2D dream sequence at the beginning and the closing credits were astonishingly well done.
I do wish there had been more with the Furious Five, because we saw them in action sequences more than in scenes with dialogue. Even when they did talk, most of the emotional depth was concentrated on Tigress. They did show good teamwork, though. I hope there may be more about them in the sequel movie, which I'm certainly going to have to buy too.
My only complaint really is that Po's father Mr. Ping keeps wearing a bowl of brown yarn on his head, with chopsticks. I think it's supposed to be dried clumps of noodles, but in every closeup on it, it really looks like nothing more than brown twine. That's freaking annoying, given all the attention to detail in other stuff.