Saturday, June 7, 2008

KUNG FU PANDA

Just saw it. Just frickin' LOVED it. Just can't wait to see it again.
Congratulations to all the multi-talented Dreamers and Workers involved. This one raises the bar and sails above it.

6 comments:

Bruce said...

Amen.

I had seen the film on opening day, full house (I had to catch the 7:20pm showing, since the 6:50pm was sold out) and I had thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh, and the whole theater was packed, and not just with a bunch of chicks who were there to watch “Sex and the City”

Before I talk about my version of the “10 commandments of enjoying Kung Fu Panda”, not to sound like an after school special, but watching the film, I was had some how connected with Po for the sole reason of his position: as of late I, myself been uninspired and a bit unhappy with my current dealings (I’m on the “Maybe” list for the animation program, until they will announce who has been accepted) and I hate my current night job as a stock boy, because my manager is a douche bag that solely exist to treat everyone like a battery operated android (he constantly checks on everyone if they are working, and quietly looks over the shelves to watch us, thinking he is of a higher power, but in truth, is just in the same boat as the rest of the night staff, only with extended authority. I know he is doing his job, and he had said “if you don’t want to come in, then don’t and come on in the other” but his attitude to his title and taking it to such extremes is too much. Oh, and he changes the schedule whenever he feels like it, screwing up my plans for studying at the college library, and does things that can, in truth, break the law.) Thankfully, he is now working during the day, which I feel somewhat relieved, but still controls the schedule.

Anyway, it’s still good to know that there are films that are made to take your worries and problems away, even if for a short time. I feel recovered after seeing Panda on opening night and the stress has finally gone (I’m doing designs for a wizard that lives in a boating house that is located in a swamp, in case if you were wondering.)

What I loved about Panda the most is that everything about the film was thought out logically. The crew from DreamWorks Animation had taken the smart route to keep the premise simple. It was another smart step to continue on building the jokes to impossible heights, and as you accept the impossible premise it keeps on building to more preposterous heights. “The Best Cartoonists Make Us Believe Preposterous Things”

An example would be the Dumpling fight scene: Po, exhausted after a day’s work of rigorous training, his teacher Shifu has prepared them a meal for his protégé’s hard work.

Suspicious of this being another trick cooked up by Shifu, Poe doesn’t bite it, until reassurance from Shifu. “You are free, to eat.” Eyes gleaming on the dumpling, it quickly disappeared before the panda could take a bite. Shifu reminds him he is free to eat. Poe tries again, and another dumpling is kicked out of his hand, consumed by Shifu, with him smiling in a cocksure manor, reassuring to Po he is free to eat.

AM I?! Questions Po. ARE YOU? Asks Shifu

Po begins by slamming the table, sending the food into the air, hopeful to keep the meal from Shifu’s chop sticks, which is proven futile. In slow motion, Po jumps in the air to take the last dumpling by force, which again, is proven futile. Not giving up, Po uses his utensils to separate the dumpling from Shifu’s grasp, which lands in the bowl. After a lightening speed guessing game and further delays, Po soon uses his wits and basic acrobatic maneuvers to achieve his prize, only to discover it was just a test to get him motivated. He states that he isn’t hungry, tosses the dumpling back to Shifu. Master and student have come to terms, and made peace.

There are other examples, like the climax of the fight scene between Po and Tai Lung; Po trying to get into the Jade Palace, the beginning dream scene that Po is narrating the tale of the Dragon Warrior, the Turtle blowing out the candles, Tai Lung escaping his prison….

Like a good comedy, the film excels on a well thought out structure, and the setup, middle and payoff for each gag is funny (a lot of people on the Brew hated the last gang, which involved Po defeating Lung by using the same maneuver that his reluctant-to-teach-him teacher almost used on him, but the whole scene was arranged thoughtfully, if it was predictable)

My favorite scene, interestingly, was the one joke that no one in the audience had got. It was when Po made a last ditch attempt of getting over the wall of the Jade Palace, by tying numerous fireworks to a chair, hoping it’ll jet-propel him over, with disastrous results; it was a direct reference to the ancient Chinese myth of Wan Hu, who supposedly had a chair built with forty-seven rockets attached. On the day of lift-off, Wan, splendidly attired, climbed into his rocket chair and forty seven servants lit the fuses and then (obviously) hastily ran for cover. There was a huge explosion. When the smoke cleared, Wan and the chair were gone, and was said never to have been seen again.

Thankfully, the Panda’s attempt turned out less gruesome, and more comical.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the film Will, but you probably have better things to do.

From an inspiring animator/ artist

Will Finn said...

wow Bruce that's a lot going on..

I don't have much more to say about KFP the movie. It was underway the last time I worked at DW (over a year ago now and not on anything related) --everything I saw on it looked promising. Even given that, I was bowled over how enjoyable the film is.

Mark McDonnell said...

I could not agree more. From a studio that is seen in the public as getting something out in a more time efficent way . . .sometimes seen as lacking content because of it . . .HOME RUN!!!! This was incredibly beautiful, incredibly action packed, and just overall a joy to watch and I was left wanting to see more (in a good way). How many films do that now-a-days? Not very many. From the characters, to the camera work, the fight sequences, some set designs . .. breathtaking. Plus a nice giggle every now and again . . .Dreamworks proved they are top knotch with this film.

Beatutifully handled,

MAC

Ashley Barton said...

Oh man, I wanna see this movie SO bad!

I've been waiting for, like... months, heh. Since it was first previewed in theatres. I wanna see it that much more 'cause, only a few weeks before the preview, I'd made up my character Panda Sensei, (who I think you've seen. Thanks so much for the nice comment on him, by the way! It made my day) and it was kinda a funny coincidence.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get a chance to see it within the next week.

Everybody else seems to be signing their comments...

-Ashley

BillRiling said...

Will,

I've seen it twice; once at the studio wrap and just this past weekend. The second time around I got chills (noodle goosebumps) not from the movie itself but from the reaction of the kids and the parents around me. They were both laughing together at the same jokes, reacting in awe to the beautiful art direction and and when necessary reassuring the youngest in attendance that Tai Lung wouldn't hurt Po then finally breaking into spontaneous applause during several scenes. It was so gratifying to see the point of what we do being realized to it's intended goal, to purely entertain. I'm so proud of that crew, from the directors to the designers to the story team and the incredible acting achieved by the animators and everything in between. I can only offer a bow of respect and my congratulations...and maybe an almond cookie.

Matt J said...

I'm with you on that Will-Dreamwork's best flick to date. here's hoping they can keep it up with 'Aliens' & 'Dragon'-they both look promising so far.