‘Kung Fu Panda’ is perfect for family movie nights

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The timeless Dreamworks classic, “Kung Fu Panda,” is a must watch for all audiences alike. 

Suited for both kids and adults, “Kung Fu Panda” is my family’s go-to entertainment for movie nights, taking the crown as one of my favorite childhood movies ever.

The beautifully animated film delves into the life of the main character, Po the panda, as he saves his home while journeying on a treacherous road of self-discovery. 

Starting as a normal civilian, Po works at his father’s noodle shop.

Contrary to what his father has envisioned for him to do, Po wants to explore the art of kung fu. He is obsessed with the notorious Furious Five, a notable kung fu group comprised with the valley’s best martial artists. 

After hearing news that an evil ex-student of master Shifu is coming to destroy the valley, master Oogway holds a competition to find a warrior worthy enough to defeat the ex-student. 

The competition ends, yet instead of picking one of the five, Oogway chooses Po even though everyone thinks it a mistake.

Po has thoughts of quitting but is reassured of his destiny through Oogway, who reminds him of the importance of faith and perseverance. 

The end of master Oogway’s life comes to an unexpected end on top of a beautiful hill as he is carried away by the flower petals of a cherry blossom tree.

Before dying, Oogway reassures Shifu of Po’s potential and instills the importance of believing in him. 

Shifu then lets go of the illusion of control by accepting the hand he has been dealt and willingly training Po despite his doubts about him.

To do so, he has to take a very different approach, training and rewarding him by giving him food.

Shifu orders an evacuation of the valley and stays behind to fight his ex-student, Tai Lung, as viewers watch a remarkably animated scene that powerfully embraces an extreme tension built up throughout the film.

On the brink of death, Shifu is saved by Po, comically entering the fight in an out of breath manner from climbing all the stairs. 

Po and Tai Lung have an epic battle, as Po realizes that his true power comes from his abnormally large body and  embracing his unique abilities.

Po comes back from his fight and is designated as the hero of the valley.

As a young child, I could never appreciate the mesmerizing animation partnered with this seemingly old film.

The visuals and the world of China that the series constructs can only be described as magical realism.

The different beautiful settings, such as the ranging mountains to the luscious valley gives the cartoonish film a very life-like feel.

The cinematography artistically crafts action scenes, as every strike feels kinetic and emphasizes the individual fighting styles of each animal.

The beautiful animation is accompanied with comical dialogue shared by every character, which is heightened by the amazing cast. 

With voice acting from Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen and Jackie Chan, the film is not shy of  A-list actors.

The cast embodies their roles on screen amazingly, welding their own unique personality to produce a perfect film.

Additionally, the film is perfected through the intriguing plot, incredible character development, important themes and  quotes.

My favorites coming from master Oogway who said “there are no accidents” and “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”

The ongoing theme of relinquishing control over life, and seeing purpose in everything and everyone is one of the film’s greatest, opening a new perspective in my life. 

Realizing the importance of this movie now has forever impacted my future, as I carry the philosophies, quotes and lessons I have learned from my favorite childhood movie, “Kung Fu Panda.” 

— By Jacob Chand

Originally published in the Feb. 2 edition of the Octagon.

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