Kung Fu Panda Holiday

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Kung Fu Panda Holiday Movie Poster Image
Heartwarming seasonal tale celebrates family bonds.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 21 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

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. 

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This holiday special follows a successful full-length movie and joins an extensive product line of clothing, toys, games, and accessories. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bysashidharan January 30, 2013

Kung fu panda Po returns in an all new winter story

A heartwarming family tale which forces more on Trusting to learn your heart than mind.
Parent of a 5 year old Written byBubbleyumgirl November 29, 2010

Warm and a little corny, just like Po

I would say that seeing the original movie is a prerequisite to seeing this special, otherwise many of the jokes and references will be lost on you. It'... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 28, 2012

Suprisingly Violent Holiday Special Is Clever

Kung Fu Panda never dissapoints and again it does not. Positive messages include the importance of family especially during the holidays. Violence was supposed... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bytheheroman122 November 20, 2010

Kung Fu Christmas

It's is Totally Awesome!!!!!!!!!! and Christmas-y

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?

Movie details

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