A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In KUNG FU PANDA HOLIDAY SPECIAL, Po (voiced by Jack Black) is preparing for a traditional Winter Festival with his dad when Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) reminds him that his duties as Dragon Warrior include hosting the formal Winter Feast for the kung fu masters. Po is torn between his responsibilities to his position and his desire to carry on his family traditions, but in his own unique way, he manages to strike a balance that gives everyone a happy holiday.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about holiday traditions. What are some of your family’s favorite traditions? How do they reflect your family’s cultural or religious background? How do they help bring your family closer together? Are there any new ones that you'd like to start?
Kids: What lessons did Po learn? Why is it important to listen to your heart when you have a difficult decision to make? Which other characters learned lessons as well? Why is it important to be willing to compromise when you’re working with family and friends?
Po is an unusual hero, since he doesn’t look or act the part of a kung fu master. What defines a hero for you? What traits are important in a role model? Who are some of your heroes?
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