Monday, January 19, 2009

Kung Fu Fighting

Let me get this out: I hate Dreamworks Animation. Actually, more specifically, Dreamworks computer animation. Going from this list (Box Office Mojo) I have only really liked two out of their titles - I'm not including Chicken Run or Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which they distributed, but can't really be called a "Dreamworks movie". I enjoyed their first computer animated feature, Antz, which is still a breath of fresh air when looking at their list. I find it hard to believe that they would hire Woody Allen, Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone these days to voice their movie. I also liked Over the Hedge, but it's hardly to the levels of Pixar.

After that though it becomes a dire situation. I will be quite adamant and vocal at the end of 2009, when everyone starts making best and worst lists for the decade, that Shrek 2 is truly one of the worst pieces of "cinema" of the past ten years. The original Shrek isn't much better in my eyes, and I really had such sharp negative reactions to Madagascar, Shark Tale and Bee Movie. I can't bring myself to see Shrek the Third or Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa due to be traumatised by the previous installments.

And that brings me to Kung Fu Panda, a movie that was supposed to be a an improvement even to people who, like me, have rejected previous Dreamworks endeavors. And while it's true that it is better than Shrek 2 it's still nothing impressive. It's very colourful, the animation is lovely and the sound work especially is very well done, but it suffers from some of the same problems as other Dreamworks product. They still haven't figured out how to cast voice actors. Angelina Jolie is about as interesting to listen to here as a dead fish, Dustin Hoffman is reserved and I don't even remember Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan voicing characters. Only Jack Black and David Kross seemed to suit the film. And I was quite shocked that the only times the film felt like it was living up to it's premise was during the dumpling battle and the final fight sequence. Many of the other passages are just flat and lifeless. I only finished watching the DVD an hour ago and I have already forgotten large chunks of it. Such a shame.

So, really, it's just another Dreamworks Animation title. C

7 comments:

J.D. said...

Yeah, it was rather disappointing for me too, and I actually have a not-horrible track record with DreamWorks Animation. It was pretty to look at for the most part, and I really appreciated it's lessons and stuff, but it was still meh-ish. Jack Black wasn't as annoying as he's been in the past, I'll give him that.

Also: The Prince of Egypt will forever be the best thing they've ever created. Just saying.

JA said...

I just watched this yesterday and yeah, I was expecting more. Everyone was all filled with surprised raves when it came out this Summer, but it was pretty bland from where I was standing. The animation did have nice moments and I imagine it might've maybe been more impressive on a big screen? But the characters were flat and the messages were derivative and it just didn't have a whole lot going on save a few moments, mostly what you named Glenn.

Catherine said...

I totally agree with J.D. on the Prince of Egypt front and I'll admit I'm a huge fan of The Road To El Dorado and I still maintain I have never laughed so hard and so heartily in a movie theatre (give or take Mean Girls) than I have at Flushed Away.

Dame James Henry said...

I may be a bit biased here because the panda was my favorite animal when I was a kid, but I thought Kung Fu Panda was absolutely adorable and quite funny. It wasn't groundbreaking by any means and the voice work was a bit lame, but I had a fun time cheering on this chubby panda!

Glenn said...

Catherine, I really liked the art direction and Hugh Jackman's voice work in Flushed Away, but otherwise it was pretty disposable.

Joel said...

I still think Kung Fu Panda is the closest thing they've done to a Pixar level film... Having said that, it's not very close at all.
Still really enjoyed it though,

Catherine said...

Yeah, I don't even think it's that good a film. But I swear to God, something must've been in the water that day, because I actually could not breathe I was laughing that uproariously. My little sister and her friend were with me and they were trying to get me to shut up, I was so into the film. Gah. I don't know. I own it on dvd, too.