Kung Fu Panda

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Kung Fu Panda

Release Date: June 6
Directors: Mark Osbourne, John Stevenson
Writers: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger (screenplay), Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (story)
Cinematographer: Yong Duk Jhun
Starring: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Kyle Gass
Studio/Run Time: Dreamworks, 92 minutes

Somehow, playing an overweight panda who dreams of kung fu awesomeness doesn’t come across as much of a stretch for Jack Black in the latest film from Dreamworks Animation

. That panda, Po, is awestruck by the Furious Five—Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey, but he’s the most unlikely of heroes to join them, a lazy, uncoordinated apprentice in the noodleshop owned by his father (who inexplicably is a stork). The story is traditional martial-arts film fare, complete with the student who’s used his kung fu for evil, the sagelike master who offers only the most opaque pearls of wisdom and lots and lots of epic fight scenes. And while recent live-action entries like Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon have used the latest technologies to give a magical quality to combat, animation further frees the action from the laws of physics. My son, though, just liked the silly Panda, and my daughter "liked everything but the fighting"; that was good enough for them. And when the kids are happy and I get to watch a Jack Black kung fu movie, that’s good enough for me.