corey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Kung Fu Panda is a wonderful exposition of DreamWorks’ animation, finding itself comfortably lodged between post-Shrek/Madagascar sequels and pre-How to Train Your Dragon in a unique slot that shines bright.
on the surface, Kung Fu Panda flaunts a beautiful environment with striking colors that bring fierce attention to both the highs and lows of the plot, all while illuminating the foreground and background for complete indulgence in the surroundings. the eye-candy is never overwhelming, but always stunning even now at over a decade since its original release. the character design looks great, even with the crowds of pigs and rabbits that fade into the framework from time to time. but it is really the choreography that takes the cake here. each action sequence is performed with such fluid precision that it is hard to believe animation of the sort can look the way this does - i mean, come on, the dumpling scene? despite some overuse of slow-motion, the executed techniques come across with exceptional simplicity that makes all moments easy to watch, and easy to enjoy.
beneath the DreamWorks showcase lies a plot that embraces the self while encouraging improvement without conducting forced changes that threaten to alienate. the profoundness of the voice actors drive this home really well, even at times when Jack Black’s character is a little too much of a clash with some of the film’s tone. nonetheless, his ability to translate confidence and comfort through a sincere portrayal of Po radiates with the strive to become a better self while achieving a dream that may have otherwise been out of reach. kung fu as a concept of unification amongst vastly varying characters goes beyond empty archetypes and tropes and delivers an all around amusing, digestible product that can transcend many age groups.
deciding to take a break from a spree of horror/thriller violence with Kung Fu Panda was a great idea, which may have allowed this to serve as a brisker breath of fresh air than it may be. however, the extraordinary animated work at hand is undeniable, and with a star-studded cast to bring it all to fruition, how much is there to complain about?