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Kung Fu Panda

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Kung Fu Panda Movie Poster Image
Appealing kid-friendly comedy; some scary scenes.
  • PG
  • 2008
  • 88 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 71 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 99 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Po discovers that there's no secret ingredient to greatness -- you just have to be yourself. This positive theme resonates throughout the film. The issue of eating as a coping mechanism is raised (Po has to learn self-control to break that habit). Additional themes include integrity, perseverance, and teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Po also has a good attitude in general, taking the Furious Five's initial chilliness in stride and ultimately giving his all to his training. Bad guy Tai Lung is a total bully -- but flashbacks soften his character slightly.

Violence & Scariness

Not surprisingly, there's lots of martial arts action -- expect tons of high-flying clashes that include punches, kicks, falls, and more. That said, the fights are generally more thrilling than frightening, though they could upset kids 5 and under -- particularly the sequence in which villain Tai Lung breaks out of a maximum security prison.

Sexy Stuff
Language

Fairly clean, though the word "suck" is used prominently, and insults are hurled at Po by nearly everyone.

Consumerism

Lots of mentions of the fictional martial arts movies that the Furious Five and other kung fu masters were in. The movie also has many promotional tie-ins.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids are sure to enjoy Kung Fu Panda, which stars Jack Black as the voice of the relatable main character, Po. And its humor and heartwarming story will appeal to grown-ups, too. The movie boasts positive messages about being who you are and believing in yourself, but it is martial arts-themed, so expect plenty of fast-paced battle scenes with kicks, punches, falls, and more. Even though they're animated, some sequences -- especially the one in which intimidating villain Tai Lung escapes from prison -- may be too scary for kindergartners and younger. Families who buy this on DVD as part of the "Pandamonium Double Pack" are also getting a cartoon short called Secrets of the Furious Five

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymovies mom April 9, 2008

WAY TOO VIOLENT

I love CSM and usually find your reviews excellent and balanced, but I am really disappointed in your review on this movie. Just check out these other parent r... Continue reading
Parent of a 3 and 8 year old Written bydigitiser March 16, 2011

Excessively violent for the style and sophistication of the story line

As a film professional, I went to the world première of Kung Fu Panda, but was concerned that the makers have not thought enough about children imitating the vi... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 16, 2011

jack black you are awesome

The good stuff * Messages: Po discovers that there's no secret ingredient to greatness -- you just have to be yourself. This positive them... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebma97 May 16, 2011

Action-packed flick for kids

This was a good movie. Not as good as Shrek, but good. There is some violence, which is expected, but there isn't that much; just some cartoonish style vio... Continue reading

What's the story?

KUNG FU PANDA asks the question -- can you achieve greatness if you're not destined for it? Of all the possible kung fu masters-to-be, Po (Jack Black) -- a lumbering, lovable panda -- seems the least likely candidate. Besides, his family's in the noodle business, and that's where his father (improbably, a goose) expects him to make his mark. But a snafu at the Jade Palace leaves Po as the top pick for the legendary Dragon Warrior. The position comes with a huge responsibility: The Dragon Warrior is charged with protecting the town from Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a brilliant kung fu master who crossed over to the dark side. He's been locked up for years, but now he's on his way to defeat Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and his elite Furious Five. Can unlikely hero Po stand his ground and save the day?

Is it any good?

This family movie is a pleasure, and Po is the ideal animated incarnation of the engaging, electric Black. He's wonderful here, giving Po the perfect mix of irreverence and sincerity. When he meets his idols, the Furious Five -- Ferocious Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Monkey (Jackie Chan) -- he's charmingly awestruck. To watch him metamorphose from clumsy kung fu fan to master is a delight. And the message -- there's no secret to greatness besides faith in yourself -- is admirable.

Kung Fu Panda's story may not be as inventive as, say, Finding Nemo, but it's undeniably charming. And there are definitely moments of brilliance: A training battle between Shifu and Po involving chopsticks and a lone dumpling will go down as one of the best in cartoon -- and maybe even kung fu -- history.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Po's decision to follow his dreams and pursue martial arts greatness in Kung Fu Panda. Was he right?

  • What makes Po different from the other heroes in the movie? What do they learn from him? How do they demonstrate teamwork?

  • What does Po's ease with himself teach young viewers? What makes him such a great kung fu warrior?

  • How do the characters in Kung Fu Panda demonstrate perseverance, self-control, and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love funny animated movies

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