Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Nothing intellectual, but the show does expose viewers to at least a glimpse of holiday traditions in another culture, and there are some positive takeaways from the kid-friendly content.
Po struggles with opposing responsibilities to his family and his new status as Dragon Warrior. Eventually he learns that listening to your heart is the best way to make the right decision, and his choice inspires others to do the same.
Positive Role Models
Po learns to value family, friends, and tradition over duties. Shifu doesn’t understand Po’s devotion to his father, but he does respect it and learns to bend his own strict rules for the good of the group.
Violence & Scariness
As in the movie, there are a couple of scenes of high-flying martial-arts action with kicks and punches, but the effect isn’t scary at all. A subplot follows a character’s efforts to get Po to kill him (he puts himself in the path of knives and tries to boil himself, for instance) after he feels he’s brought shame on his village, but again, the effect is more humorous than frightening.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
This holiday special follows a successful full-length movie and joins an extensive product line of clothing, toys, games, and accessories.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's nothing in this TV special that will surprise existing fans of the original movie, although the show's shortened length means that there are far fewer martial-arts scenes (only a couple that show contact, in fact). There's a brief storyline that involves a rabbit's self-proclaimed desire to die to restore honor to his people, and astute viewers will see a handful of instances of him intentionally putting himself in harm's way (hoping knives will fall on him or trying to boil himself, for instance). That said, it's the heartwarming messages of holiday traditions and family bonds that will impress viewers of all ages more than anything else. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of the full-length Kung Fu Panda movie will find more to like in this sweet holiday tale that celebrates the bonds of family and friends. Po is a likable hero whose efforts to please everyone wind up making him unhappy. It's only when he listens closely to his heart's desires that he finds the peace and joy of the holiday, and, by association, makes everyone else happy as well.
This show's 30-minute timeframe doesn't allow for much in the way of martial arts, and the couple scenes that do center on it aren't likely to frighten little kids. A side story that follows a rabbit's apparent suicide attempts (positioning himself under falling knives, for instance) is cast in a humorous light and also won't upset kids. Bottom line? Sure, there's the obvious marketing tie-in at play here, but this feel-good tale is sure to please families and has great messages about finding the true meaning of the holidays.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.