A lowly noodle chef dreams of being a mighty Kung Fu champion, turns up during the selection of the Dragon Warrior and ends up joining the Five Kung Fu heroes he has idolised for his entire life. It’s a common enough story (down and out turns good and saves the world) and it needs a strong cast and some solid writing to really give it any life these days. Kung Fu Panda comes close to nailing it but falls short at the final bout. Everything is flawless, the animation, the voice acting, the humour is excellent, the story is interesting enough.
But there’s something missing. Some heart, some soul and a huge act from the second half. Where is the scene with Panda and the Five taking on the enemy together? Where is the scene of them training together and finally coming to accept each other? Where is the team work? Instead we are left with the Five setting out on their own to defeat the enemy and Panda training in their absence, becoming the Dragon Warrior while they are away.
It feels like something was left out. Which is a true shame. I really enjoyed watching it, I laughed, and it was suitably touching, but it was too short, and subsequently too hollow to be a classic.