Kung Fu Panda

  • Review Date: June 2, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Appealing kid-friendly comedy; some scary scenes.
  • Review Date: June 2, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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 unlearn that habit).

Positive role models

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
Not applicable
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
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will definitely want to see this heavily promoted (including McDonald's Happy Meals) animated film -- which stars kid fave Jack Black as the voice of the 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 a little too scary for kindergartners and younger. Families who buy this on DVD as the "Pandamonium Double Pack" are also getting a cartoon short called Secrets of the Furious Five. See our review.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

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?

QUALITY
 

KUNG FU PANDA 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.

The movie'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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Po's decision to follow his dreams and pursue martial arts greatness. Was he right? What makes Po different from the other heroes in the movie? What do they learn from him? And what does Po's ease with himself teach young viewers? What makes him such a great kung fu warrior?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 6, 2008
DVD release date:November 9, 2008
Cast:Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Black
Director:Mark Osborne
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Misfits and underdogs, Wild animals
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:sequences of martial arts action.

This review of Kung Fu Panda was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 16, 2011
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

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 theme resonates throughout the film. 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. The issue of eating as a coping mechanism is raised (Po has to unlearn that habit). Bad guy Tai Lung is a total bully -- but flashbacks soften his character slightly. What to watch out for * 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: Not an issue. * 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: Not an issue.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebma97 May 16, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

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 violence. This is probably okay for younger kids 6+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 7 years old May 1, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
First I hate it then I love it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages

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