13 June 2008

Two Fun Trailers and Brief Review: Kung Fu Panda

Without any ado whatever do I present you two fun trailers that made me excited about the comic possibilities for film this year 2008:

  1. Religulous - A snappy, Bill-Maher-esque documentary on the realities of religion in the world featuring no one else than Mr. Maher himself
  2. Burn after Reading - The Coen brothers' radical little follow-up to their straight-faced No Country for Old Men produced by Focus Features(!!) and featuring a rockstar cast of everyone who matters - a clear exaggeration but I'm flowing here - and an A-game(?!) Brad Pitt - a clear statement of fact - indeed, sir, indeed.

And now for Kung Fu Panda:

Genre: Animated / Comedy

Let me say, first and foremost, that Kung Fu Panda, like so many other animated summer hooks, felt sure to be a major bomb to me from the first instant when I caught its teaser trailer in front of the equally abysmal Atonement in December. A bizarre computer-generated-(CG)-animated throw-away tale about a country whose mythology and heritage these creators have surely maligned in one way or another, the film, I thought, would scarcely scratch the bottom surface of the plane of the truly, genuinely, heartily good animated fare that I've seen grace the screen, fare like 2003's The Triplettes of Belleville and Finding Nemo. Well, how blown away was I when I turned out to be...wrong?!?!
Yes, blog-readers, you read your blog correctly: I was horribly mistaken about this one, the fault of which mistake I'm attributing to the penurious bias the majority of the animated fare that is released into theaters today has infused into me. But, seriously though, a Jack-Black-led film about a Jack-Black-like panda who loves kung fu more than the guys in Office Space in whose book is an expected 'money film'?
Anyway, the point is, the film was for its type and category in a word awesome. Beautifully animated, especially during its 2-D, CG cut-out prologue (which, if you ask me, took a note or two from the exquisite closing credits sequence of 2005's Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events), nicely written, and sharply voiced by actors such as Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie (aside from the exuberant Mr. Black himself), Kung Fu Panda was a sheer delight that had me laughing (to the utterly bewildering surprise of myself), not at it, but for it! Let me just keep it short and quick and say nothing further than Pixar and Focus Features have their work cut out for them, if they aim to better Dreamworks this year and walk away with the animation world's top honors (for their much anticipated Wall.E and 9 [and also Coraline], respectively).

Grade: B+

Stay tuned, to see what happens!

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