PDA

View Full Version : kung fu panda - WOW



jin choung
06-08-2008, 03:44 AM
howdy - no spoilers,

so i just came back from an 11:15pm showing of kung fu panda.

it's not perfect. there were at least two things that i disliked about it.

but... it's... AWESOME!!! exciting, unbelievable choreography, great set pieces, deliriously funny, insufferably cute... and awesome character design and animation.

i think this is the first dreamworks 3dcartoon that i liked! (ihateshrekhateshrekshateshrek)

it got some middling reviews but i don't get that AT ALL! it was unreservedly a great time at the movies! and it wasn't just me. the whole theater was in stitches and gasping, guffawing and wincing in unison.

stylistic touches like the GREAT gendy tarsomethingsky-like opening 2d cartoon over credits to brilliant 3d "freezeframetableaus" that stop the action in the midst of a furious bit of action... just really great.

and the character animation! holy fing cow... it's amazing just how much give and stretch there is on all the characters... especially po the panda....

the acting is top notch from voices to the facial expressions.... seriously, i can't get over how wonderfully expressive po's face is.

but the cast of 5 kung fu heroes are underdeveloped.... most of the time, they're just kind of in the background. a flaw. but forgiveable.

in case you get distracted by trying to figure out the voices (like me), here's the break down:

po panda - jack black ... hilarious
mouse master - dustin hoffman - surprisingly great as an asian kungfu master!
turtle master - the keymaster from matrix reloaded... good role. funny.
snake - lucy liu - not a lot for her i'm afraid
monkey - jackie chan - waste... not a lot for him to say
crane - dave cross from arrested development etc. waste
mantis - seth rogen from knocked up waste
tiger - angelina jolie waste
badguy - ian mcshane from deadwood c*cksucker fame... : ) ... good villain ... no real resolution though....
po's dad - james hong... great character actor... "i make your eyes" fame.... wonderfully funny as po's bird dad.

there's a horribly touching fight scene somewhere in the middle where there's an unexpected transformation and it's REALLY affecting... good stuff.

a bit too starwarsy at times in the mysticism but it eventually finds its own way...

good story telling. nice setups and payoffs.

normally i really detest modern cartoon anachronism conceits but even though they were anything but subtle in this movie, i didn't mind it. if you laugh out loud at jack black's narration in the beginning of the movie, you're good to go.

jin

p.s. first movie in a long time that i actually want to see again!

jin choung
06-08-2008, 03:48 AM
oh, 2 bad things:

1. one overhead shot of snake - animation is TERRIBLE... absolutely atrocious... she's small in frame but still.... bleauuuhgh... i wonder what happened. there are many noteworthy shots of the snake where it is animated BEAUTIFULLY.... astoundingly well but for a couple of shots, it looks like a standin animation got passed as final somehow.....

2. kind of interesting appropriation of eating disorder into the story... lol... not really sure what to make of this....

jin

eagleeyed
06-08-2008, 07:00 AM
Thanks for the review, Jin.

Cant wait for it to be released here in Aus, and I definately want to see it now.

The trailers I have seen so far for it at the cinemas have been very impressive.

Thanks again.

rezman
06-08-2008, 09:00 AM
Sadly this film was "Disney-esc" in the fact that it majored in the minors and minored in the majors.

The good:
Insanely beautiful visuals...cliched, oh yeah...but beautiful nevertheless. Animation was well done, direction, lighting, art direction, had it it all. The humor was great, if you focused on that by itself...alas, there is the bad.

The bad:
The story itself wasn't really there. The plot was contrived at best. The entire storyline was splashed with mumbo jumbo, a bunch of stuff that about five people on the planet would get, a way overdone, look at me, gee aren't we authentic eastern mysticism. Taken by itself that aspect of the movie was a yawnfest. Taken out, all you had were the visuals. Take those out, you were left with a potboiler script with some funny gags.

None of the characters were developed. The father and son bit was incredibly weak. And, the villian was utterly undeveloped and quite a stretch to see his motivation.

The film really needed to decide what it wanted to be...instead it tried to be it all, continually smacking you in the face with elements that ruined its own stride. It was storytelling created in a blender....way too much seasoning, and far too much saccharin. In the end it was a movie that said, fat people can be heroes too. And, that everyone is special...and as Syndrome said, no one is.

IMI
06-08-2008, 10:19 AM
Why do you hate Shrek, jin? The animation? The CG? The story?
Just curious. I only ever saw the first one, and none since, but I thought it was pretty cool. Of course. I'm a huge fan of Mike Meyers and Eddie Murphy, so maybe that's why, but...

Chilton
06-08-2008, 01:43 PM
I think a few people pointed out that the commercials for the show included names for all of the characters, including a few commercials where the characters referred to each other by name (they don't really do this in the movie). I suspect there was more story here, and some of it is left on the cutting room floor (aka DVD Extended Scenery).

I hate when that happens, especially when it's character or plot development that gets the cut.

-Chilton

jin choung
06-08-2008, 03:31 PM
Why do you hate Shrek, jin?

character design, hypocrisy, fractured fairy tale.

character design - seems to be less about choice in creating the resultant style rather than general incompetence! the princess looks UGLY in human form. she is far more pleasing in ogre form. shrek's ok as is donkey but all the human characters are just plain DISPLEASING.... yech.... UGLY UGLY UGLY and for a big budget cg cartoon, unforgivable.

kfp is a TOTAL DIAMETRIC OPPOSITE of that... character design is BEAUTIFUL... well thought out and well executed and shows tremendous technical capability... and MORE... it shows GOOD TASTE.

maybe shrek's design IS exactly what they aimed to do... but imo, that shows bad taste on the part of the heads, saying something is good when it is not.


hypocrisy - makes a big deal of sniping at disney but in the end, it is exactly like disney in its "voice", its tone, its anachronisms, its "i'm so hip and now" attitude, everything.

imo, a successful sniping at disney is done by the simpsons on their tv show... there's enough of a discrepancy in tone, content and political correctness so that such a commentary does not prove to be ultimately ludicrous.


fractured fairy tale - hip post modern takes on fairy tales... this was done to mfing DEATH BEFORE shrek. it's all over nickelodeon and even kids' books and such... it's soooooo stale.... i'm sooooooo done with it.

not sure when the books were published... maybe the books started the wave of fractured fairy tales? i dunno... but the movie came out AFTER a glut of this kind of stuff and i was just soooooo done with it.

sure, kids probably would not mind or have the jadedness that i do.... that's probably why shrek was such a hit... but for me, it is just too repetitive to bear.

(in a way, this reminds me of the whole gollum vs. smeagol reflection gag in lotr... i HATED IT... i thought it was lame and derivative... BECAUSE, spider-man which preceded it by mere months used the exact same gag for the green goblin.

i would BET that both scripts independently came up with the gag... it's an old gag and certainly been done before... but because of PROXIMITY... i hated it and thought it was soooooooooo lame. unfortunate. certainly not malicious. but in my mind, lame just the same)
-----------------------------------------------------------------

but that's not to say that this needs intrude on anyone else... if anyone likes it, that's totally great and feel free to prove me utterly wrong in any apologetics... : ) this is indeed something that qualifies as mere opinion and mine is just a single (probably minority) voice among many.

jin

IMI
06-08-2008, 04:16 PM
Ah, thanks for the rundown, jin. I really hadn't looked that deep into it, but I do agree, at least the part about the characters being *ugly* and the fairytale parody being redundant.

Probably because I'm not really a fan of 3D CG animated movies, I overlooked all that and just watched it, amused.

(yeah, go figure - I'm probably the only 'waver around who's not into CG animation. ;) )
Well, not entire movies. I'm impressed by effects more than characters. I still prefer real human actors, with the CG effects where they make sense.
Not knocking CG movies by any stretch, it's just a personal preference.

I probably will buy those Big Buck Bunny DVD's though and poke around the scene files some. Might change my mind some, might learn something.

jin choung
06-08-2008, 04:52 PM
cool cool...

actually, i totally agree about the cg cartoon thing... especially since most of them are soooo... alike, i'm not a huge fan either. there's only so much g/pg entertainment i can stand and just in terms of the 3dcartoon form, i'm not as into that as i am into vfx and cgi integration with live action. which makes me excited about project blender's next project which is more vfx oriented (though i'm not sure if liveaction will be used).....

re: big buck bunny dvd - if you want to support them (good thing to do since they're starting on their next aforementioned movie) and you want a nice dvd souvenir, i wholeheartedly encourage you to get it.

but if you just want to play with the files and/or not busting at the seams with cash, i (and the blender community and spirit of open source) would like to inform you that they are freely available for download now at the peach.blender.org site and the .iso of the entire purchaseable dvd will be available for download and burning, to play on your dvd very soon.

jin

jin choung
06-08-2008, 04:55 PM
oh, one thing i thought was funny,

currently, it is my task at work to do the odious, horrific, tedious and soul crushing task of cloth sim (ncloth in maya - good system... still... ack!) and it took me about twenty minutes to STOP taking mental notes on what they were doing with the cloth in kfp... when i realized what i was doing, i couldn't stop laughing.....

jin

IMI
06-08-2008, 04:57 PM
Thanks for the info, jin.
I wasn't aware they could be downloaded, but even so I'll go ahead and pay for the real deal. It's a great thing they're doing, and I'm sure the money will help them.
Maybe they can do something about that alien interface. ;)

IMI
06-08-2008, 05:09 PM
oh, one thing i thought was funny,

currently, it is my task at work to do the odious, horrific, tedious and soul crushing task of cloth sim (ncloth in maya - good system... still... ack!) and it took me about twenty minutes to STOP taking mental notes on what they were doing with the cloth in kfp... when i realized what i was doing, i couldn't stop laughing.....

jin

I think that's sort of why I'm not big into 3D CG animated movies. I find myself constantly thinking, "is that real or CG? No, it can't be. But it must be! No, no way..."
And so it goes. Meanwhile I miss the movie. ;)

NAS
06-08-2008, 06:08 PM
Wow another cute 3D cartoon
What a surprise

NAS

jin choung
06-08-2008, 09:25 PM
oh, another thing that was NOTABLY BAD-

the torch that michael clark duncan's rhino guard character was holding... REALLY ASTOUNDINGLY CONSPICUOUSLY AND INEXPLICABLY BAD.... makes you wonder... wtf?!

jin

sean hargreaves
06-13-2008, 10:24 AM
I completely agree with Jin, it was really a beautiful film to watch, the design, lighting, and colors were outstanding. The panda was funny, incredibly animated, the other characters were....so so. I loved the master turtle however.

I'm not an animator, but I can't imagine the rigging on these characters, especially the Panda. The expressiveness was fantastic.

Top marks!!! :D

Nangleator
06-13-2008, 11:15 AM
actually, i totally agree about the cg cartoon thing... especially since most of them are soooo... alike
I'd love to see a Heavy Metal-type film. Gritty, shocking, disturbing... Something that people would talk about in hushed tones for years.

But for now, these movies cost, and they won't be funded unless they appeal to every last 3-year-old and over-protective parent.

sean hargreaves
06-13-2008, 11:43 AM
Well Nangleator, you're comparing apples and oranges. We're talking about a film with furry animals in it that talk.

In the past, Disney made films that were cell animation with furry animals that talked, then someone made Heavy Metal. But I don't think anyone could compare the two.

Final Fantasy and Beowulf were made, were they successful? I don't know, but not as successful as these films because when you are looking at Final Fantasy or Beowulf you are comparing them to real life lighting and images and designs. With Kung Fu Panda, its just fantasy all around.

Nangleator
06-13-2008, 12:06 PM
Didn't really intend to compare them. It was just an off-topic remark in response to the sameness. (Or are we wishing for furry animal movies that are totally unique?)

sean hargreaves
06-13-2008, 02:58 PM
I agree with you on the sameness, but are you talking about story sameness? I mean, this film could have been live action with people in place of the animals.

People seem to like the same basic stories - good against evil - characters that are down and out rising to their potential - etc,etc.

I wish they would make a film based on a character by Jean 'Moebius' Giraud, written by Alexander Jodorowsky, why hav'nt they? I don't know.

I'm 42, I realized a few years ago that all these movies they make are the same thing over and over again, so I only go out to a film when I think theres something for me to see. Kung Fu Panda I went to see because of the backgrounds, but I just enjoyed the film as well.

If they make a Heavy Metal type film, they have to avoid the attempt at photorealistic humans because it does'nt work yet, it does'nt look right, and people are disturbed by it...for one thing, they can't seem to get the eyes right, it kills me.

On that note, I saw a Star Wars Clone Wars trailer. Lucas has made a cg film of the Clone Wars that does'nt focus on Skywalker, Vader, etc. And they did'nt attempt to make the characters proportions exactly human, nor are the design of the characters human, they are somewhat cartoon versions of humans. My critique of that is they look like Gerry Andersons Thunderbirds characters, with big eyes and they look wooden.

But, to each his own I guess....!!

TripD
06-15-2008, 09:50 PM
The panda was funny, incredibly animated, the other characters were....so so. I loved the master turtle however.
The expressiveness was fantastic.

Top marks!!! :D

I agree with both of you guys on that accord. Po's mannerisms were awesomely lifelike imho. For me that is the fun part of anthropomorphism. (Big word of the day!) They don't have to look human, just act it.

Then there is the awful choice of CG people..... aka Beowulf. All of it's shots were fimed in the Uncanny River Valley, somewhere north of totally creepy.

Tippsy
06-15-2008, 10:11 PM
Greatest animation movie ever!!! This by far is the most funny and endearing Dreamworks picture I have seen not that there have not been good ones before. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!

jin choung
06-16-2008, 12:28 AM
If they make a Heavy Metal type film, they have to avoid the attempt at photorealistic humans because it does'nt work yet, it does'nt look right

a bigger and better reason is:

WHAT'S THE POINT?

why not just shoot people then? EVEN IF they fill in the uncanny valley, they should NEVER make a cg movie with completely photoreal people... what a waste that would be! that tech would be valuable for digital doubles and vfx work but it's pointless for a cg cartoon.

i think it's a don bluth quote that says that the essence of animation is CARICATURE and i totally agree.

if you're not going to take advantage of the medium to do only what it can do, what's the point? your choice in medium shouldn't be incidental.

actually, that's why i'm looking forward to the new star wars thing. stylized, caricature, DISTILLING.... exercising the aspects of cg animation that can't be readily done in any other way.

jin

mattclary
06-16-2008, 09:38 AM
I liked it a lot, my 4 year old daughter loved it. First movie I have ever taken her to. That's enough for me. :thumbsup:

hunter
06-16-2008, 04:52 PM
a bigger and better reason is:

WHAT'S THE POINT?

why not just shoot people then? EVEN IF they fill in the uncanny valley, they should NEVER make a cg movie with completely photoreal people... what a waste that would be! that tech would be valuable for digital doubles and vfx work but it's pointless for a cg cartoon.

i think it's a don bluth quote that says that the essence of animation is CARICATURE and i totally agree.

if you're not going to take advantage of the medium to do only what it can do, what's the point? your choice in medium shouldn't be incidental.

actually, that's why i'm looking forward to the new star wars thing. stylized, caricature, DISTILLING.... exercising the aspects of cg animation that can't be readily done in any other way.

jin

I agree. I remember years ago when I started in 3D and here on these forums in fact, someone asked how to animate a frying pan skipping on the water. I always thought why not just go throw a frying pan and skip it on the water and film it? :D

Oh and Kung Fu Panda was great. Although I don't think it would be as good with out Jack Black. And I still think Pixar is the King in this arena. bring on Walll-E!

Larry_g1s
06-17-2008, 09:49 AM
I really enjoyed it. I'm a huge Pixar fan, and I've always felt that Dreamworks has been an outstanding studio technically & artistically, but not quite as solid in the story telling dept. as someone like Pixar. Their movies tend to feel like a short extend to full length. BUT Kung Fu Panda...not so! Technically and artistically all there, and the story telling was fantastic! The humor felt so organic. One of my top favorites now.

TripD
06-18-2008, 11:27 PM
Yah... bring on Wall-e! I here they are already selling real functioning Wall-e robots!

Jim_C
07-10-2008, 08:15 AM
Working at the Panda....


http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/credit_me_not_a_kung_fu_panda_screenwriters_memoir

Thomas M.
07-10-2008, 12:03 PM
As already mentioned by somebody else earlier in another thread: **** all these animal CG movies. They can be beautiful in any way, BUT in general they try to take you from behind. It's like with babies. Big blue eyes in a small skull and you fall for it. Just went over to trailers at Apple and there's an Ice Age 3 coming along in 2009. We already survived Shrek 3. What else do these studio clowns try to throw at us? Anybody who has seen Persepolis? That's a movie which is great in any aspect, but please: No more talking CG animals or ...

It's always the same scheme and peolpe fall for it over and over again. Are we already totally brainwashed?

CMT
07-10-2008, 12:29 PM
Yeah. Had no desire to see this one. I've had it with the contrived cute CG animals for a while myself. I can see the producer right now.... "Let's see I like Kung Fu... How about a Kung Fu animal.... OK. now what animal is fat, Chinese and would be funny to see doing Kung Fu.... A Panda! Yes! Best idea ever!"

It's like the very first idea to come out of their head was good enough. At least Pixar seems to inject some sort of originality to their films, though Cars was a bit lame I thought. Mater made that film for me though! Wall-E was a bit of a letdown for me though. Not enough dialog to keep my interest in the characters.