Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jun 21, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

A couple of days ago my dad asked me which movie I'd seen so far this year was the best one. I couldn't really come up with an answer, partly because I haven't seen many movies this year, and partly because most of the movies I've seen have been kind of mediocre. Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Incredible Hulk, Speed Racer, The Forbidden Kingdom . . . all very similar and all very meh. (Can you tell I like action movies?)

Well, now I can say it! Best movie so far this year: Kung Fu Panda. That's right. It was not just fun or funny, it was actually REALLY GOOD. Here we have an action movie with a Theme and a Plot and really well-done Characterization and all the events tie into each other with nothing seemingly "just thrown in". There's humor, yes, but it's not snide referential humor or self-denigrating humor: it's delightful and cheerful and fits perfectly into context. Even the purely stylistic elements of Kung Fu Panda are beautifully done and wonderfully consistent. Dreamworks has surpassed itself and delivered a gem easily the equal of the original Shrek movie . . . and without Eddie Murphy's inane blather to ruin it. (Granted, Jack Black's character Po talks a lot, but it's not blather and it's not inane: it's the nature of the character, not a sideline.)

Why is it that the best movies nowadays are ostensibly for kids? Are the Hollywood writers getting distracted by the tits and violence in their own movies and forgetting how to TELL A STORY?! Did I just answer my own question? It seems that every other movie feels this corrupt need to sneer at or denigrate or self-sabotage itself in an effort to be modern or at least "grown up".

You know what other movie I'm currently looking forward to? Wall-e. Because I will never grow out of my love for a good story with lovable heroes, and I hope you never do, either.

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