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"Kung Fu Panda" - Fun Movie for the Kids

I took my kids (9 and 7 years old) to see "Kung Fu Panda" last week, not long after it opened in theaters.  I was pleasantly surprised at how funny and entertaining it was. 

I will caution you that if you are not a Jack Black fan (think "School of Rock" more than "Tenacious D"), then you might not enjoy the movie as much, since his personality is infused into the main character pretty heavily.

There were a couple scary and somewhat violent sequences that made me think that my 7-year old daughter would be frightened, but she was fine.  My son LOVED the movie, and he and I have been quoting some of the lines since we saw it.  I guess they have to inject some tension and conflict into movies to make them more compelling?

In a nutshell, this film is about a panda who works for his father (who is not a panda, yet that is never explained - maybe he was adopted?) at their noodle shop in the Valley of Peace.  He idolizes the warriors in the nearby palace, then he is randomly chosen to be the Dragon Warrior, to the disbelief of the other students who were competing for this honor.

Dustin Hoffman is excellent as his trainer/teacher, and the film moves along at a brisk pace.  One of the training sequences involving dumplings was truly genius.  The movie is filled with slapstick humor, but it's also funny enough for adults to have a great time.  Angelina Jolie plays the tiger, but I actually didn't even realize it until the movie was over. 

I would recommend this one as a summer diversion if you're looking for a kid movie with a heart.  It is rated PG for the violent fight scenes mentioned above.  Jack Black is a terrific voice talent, and he carries the movie much of the way.  Enjoy!

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