If you have kids of a certain age you’re always grateful for a true family-friendly animated movie. Well here comes "Kung Fu Panda," a simple and delightful fable sure to score with kids and to keep parents reasonably entertained. Jack Black voices Po, a humble panda with grandiose kung fu dreams. Nobody’s more surprised than Po when he’s tapped to be the next Dragon Warrior.
While following a very traditional storyline about finding the true hero inside us all, "Kung Fu Panda" also has an ironic sense of itself. Among the top stars lending their voice talents to the film: An underused Angelina Jolie, who has a minor supporting role, and Ian McShane. He does some of the best villain voicework this side of Jeremy Irons in "The Lion King." And Dustin Hoffman puts a nifty spin on his line readings as Po’s kung fu master, who is wise and patient, but also a bit cranky and pragmatic.
I’d give a solid B-plus to the Dreamworks animation, which includes some creative and impressive landscapes and of course a host of cute, stuffed-animal like characters. "Kung Fu Panda" puts a fresh spin-kick on a familiar coming of age story.