Friday, June 13, 2008

Kung Fu Panda - 2008 animated film

Plot :

Po (Jack Black) is a panda who works in the noodle shop owned by his goose father Mr. Ping (James Hong). He is also a kung fu fanatic with secret dreams of becoming a great master in the discipline, but Po's defining characteristic appears to be that he is the laziest of all the animals in ancient China. Mr. Ping hopes that Po will one day take over the shop.

The tortoise Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) has a premonition that the evil snow leopard warrior Tai Lung (Ian McShane), the former student of his own protege Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), will escape from prison and return to menace the Valley of Peace. While Shifu sends Zeng (Dan Fogler), a messenger goose, to Chorh-Gom Prison to have the security increased, Oogway orders a formal ceremony to choose the mighty Dragon Warrior who can defeat Tai Lung. Everyone assumes that one of the Furious Five (Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Seth Rogen as Mantis, Lucy Liu as Viper and David Cross as Crane), a quintet of supremely skilled martial artists trained by Shifu, will be chosen for this honor.

While the Five demonstrate their skills at the ceremony, Po finds himself locked outside the walled palace square. He attempts desperately to gain entry through a series of increasingly foolhardy methods. He finally does get over the wall, landing in the middle of the grounds just as Oogway makes his selection. Inspired by this sudden appearance, the old master designates Po the Dragon Warrior to everyone's shock. Despite Po's protests and Shifu's pleas to reconsider, Oogway stands by his decision.

Alarmed at having this slovenly and obese noodle vendor with no martial arts training whatsoever under his tutelage, Shifu attempts to discourage Po by berating and humiliating him into leaving, including threatening to use the apparently deadly "Wuxi Finger Hold" on him. The Five, profoundly disappointed at being upstaged by the panda, similarly dismiss Po as a worthless interloper. Although he becomes aware of Shifu's true intentions, Po endures all the abuse willingly for the growing dream to become something better than the failure he thinks he is, while Master Oogway encourages the panda to believe in himself. Eventually, the affable Po endears himself to the Five (except for Tigress) with his tireless tenacity, good cooking, and sense of humor.

Meanwhile, Zeng's errand backfires disastrously when a tour of the prison given to him by the overly confident head of security, Commander Vachir (Michael Clarke Duncan), inadvertently enables Tai Lung to escape — overwhelming numerous rhinoceros prison guards. In the Valley of Peace, Oogway passes away (which can be interpreted as ascending to Nirvana), his final wish that Shifu train Po. However, upon learning of Tai Lung's return, the death of the Turtle who is the only one to have defeated him and realizing to his horror that he has to face such a villain without any skill in fighting, Po attempts to flee, only to be stopped by Shifu who realizes that the panda must be trained. Unfortunately, when Po confesses in that confrontation his deep self-loathing and the fact that he will never be a match for Tai Lung, Shifu is at a loss for a solution. In the meantime, the Five take it upon themselves to intercept Tai Lung. After a long night of pondering, Shifu discovers the following morning that Po is capable of impressive physical feats when motivated by food. Realizing that he has found the right focus for the panda, Shifu leads Po to the countryside for a intensive training regime in which Po is offered food as a reward for learning his lessons properly. Thus motivated, Po learns swiftly and finally becomes a talented martial artist in his own right.

The Five battle Tai Lung but are eventually beaten and paralyzed with a specialized nerve-striking technique. When they return defeated, Shifu finally decides Po is ready to take the villain on and gives him the sacred Dragon Scroll, which promises great power to the possessor. When Po opens it, he finds nothing but a blank reflective surface. Stricken with despair at the scroll's apparent worthlessness, Shifu orders his students to evacuate the village while he stays to delay Tai Lung from pursuing them for as long as he can.

As Po participates in the evacuation, he comes across his father, who tries to cheer him up by telling him the secret ingredient of the family's popular noodle soup: nothing except what the cook puts into it. Things become special, he explains, because people believe them to be special. Realizing that this truth is the very point of the Dragon Scroll, that the power promised is already inside him, Po rushes off to help Shifu. At this time, Tai Lung confronts Shifu and savagely beats him for his perceived betrayal of not arguing with Master Oogway's rejection of Tai Lung as Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung also wants the Dragon Scroll for himself. For his part, Shifu is crippled by his profound feelings of guilt and responsibility for his former protege, whom he loved like a son, turning to evil.

Before Tai Lung can kill his mentor, Po arrives to challenge him. Although the snow leopard scoffs at the fat panda being the Dragon Warrior, the ensuing fight proves Po to be an extremely formidable opponent. Despite Po's skill, Tai Lung temporarily stuns him and gains the Dragon Scroll, but is aghast when he examines it, unable to understand its symbolism. As he recovers, Po strikes a critical blow on Tai Lung's spirit when he reveals his comprehension of the deeper wisdom of the scroll, a comprehension that the villain cannot match. Frustrated with an apparently useless prize and facing a spiritually superior enemy, Tai Lung tries to kill Po with his nerve strikes. However, the attack proves useless on the panda, as his body fat protects his nerves. Emboldened, Po effectively counter-attacks with a unique improvised combat style that takes advantage of his girth to absorb and deflect the force from Tai Lung's attacks back at him. In the end, Po uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on Tai Lung (which he claims to have learned on his own), destroying him with a devastating explosion that ripples through the valley.

The Furious Five return to the valley to investigate and find a slightly dazed but triumphant Po. Deeply impressed at Po's victory, Tigress leads the Five to acknowledge the panda as a Kung Fu master. The villagers, including Po's father, follow suit and hail Po as a hero. Po remembers his teacher is wounded, and rushes back to Shifu, who appears to be dying, but is only resting after such a terrible battle. Po meditates with him for a few seconds, then finally asks if he would like to go and get something to eat; Shifu takes him up on the offer.

At the end of the credit scroll, Po and Shifu are seen eating together by a peach tree. A seed planted by Shifu earlier has begun to sprout.

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