Guest Author - Sarah Fierro
Looking for an animated cartoon movie with some A list actors on the voice list? The Kung Fu Panda cast list features Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, and Ian McShane.
Po (Black) is a panda searching for his destiny. He works with his father at a noodle restaurant, but has bigger dreams of becoming a Kung Fu Master. Po is lighthearted and enjoys learning the steps of Kung Fu. The only person standing in Po’s way is his father, who simply hopes that his destiny is to take over the family restaurant.
Shifu (Hoffman) is the Master who will train Po on his path to becoming the powerful Dragon Warrior. Shifu is surprised when a panda, the laziest creature he knows, is chosen as a Kung Fu power. At first Po doubts himself, but with some self confidence and Shifu’s training Po believes he can truly be a Master.
Tigress (Jolie), Monkey (Chan), Mantis (Rogen), Viper (Liu), and Crane (Cross) are the Furious Five. Po must work with this group of already trained Kung Fu students to perfect the art. Tai Lung (McShane) is the snow leopard warrior that Po must defeat. Once a student of the same Kung Fu Master who teaches Po everything he knows, Tai Lung has turned evil and returned to the village to face his previous Master.
Jack Black is hilarious as the panda, and you can see his personality come through the character. Seemingly the whole Furious Five were drawn up around the actors that performed their voices.
In usual DreamWorks Pictures fashion, there is a life lesson behind Kung Fu Panda. Believe in yourself and know that you can achieve anything, as long as you put your heart into it. This movie is great for sharing an example of an ancient tried and true teaching with your children.
Kung Fu Panda was released to theaters in June of 2008. It received a PG rating for its martial arts violence and light adult references. The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film in 2009. Hopefully a sequel will follow!