Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda ★★★★★

Call me crazy, but I think that Kung Fu Panda might be the closest a movie has ever come to perfection.

No, I’m not kidding.

Every shot, every offhand line of dialogue, every miniscule detail has been meticulously crafted to display one of the most engaging pieces of art I’ve ever seen. Never before have I seen a film so laser-focused on conveying its themes so well; ironically enough, it feels as if there is very little to no fat here. Every facet of the film goes to supporting its key, integral message, that being, well, to be yourself. And I know that sounds like a trite moral to teach in the larger cinematic landscape, but the way Kung Fu Panda weaves this idea of becoming the best version of you that you can be is simply unrivaled. Po’s story of self-acceptance is an emotional roller coaster. We watch him accept himself for who he is. We see him come to terms with the fact that he can’t and shouldn’t change who he is. We see him training himself, not by trying to be someone else, but by playing to his own strengths. It’s a lesson as old as time, but it bears repeating: there is no one true secret ingredient to being special. It’s something that’s within all of us from the beginning. And when Po finally becomes a hero, not by becoming the unstoppable champion of legend, but by being the humble noodle shop worker he always has been, dammit, I can’t help but be inspired myself.

It’s crazy to think that this film has been a part of my life since it came out, yet only in my adult years am I starting to see it as the masterpiece that it truly is. I liked it fine enough as a kid, but somehow, it manages to hit that much harder watching it nowadays. From it’s incredible opening scene to one of the most climactic finales in cinematic history, Kung Fu Panda is a triumph of storytelling, a true modern masterpiece, pushing the boundaries of the medium of animation. I know it sounds like I’m employing hyperbole, but I assure you, I’m not. I genuinely have a hard time thinking of a single thing wrong with it. I just saw it, and I’m already looking forward to the next time I can see it again.

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