Secrets of the Furious Five
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a cartoon short (only 24 minutes long) spun off of Kung Fu Panda. It also includes some basic instruction by kids on different fighting techniques (the kids demonstrate the motions alone, and the focus is on how each represents an animal). There's plenty of martial arts action in the cartoon short, and some scary characters for young viewers -- like the gorilla warrior and some mean gators. But the action is tempered with lessons that each member of the Furious Five learns on his or her path: patience, courage, confidence, controlling your temper, and compassion.
What's the story?
Po the Panda is up against a scary adversary: a yard full of young bunnies in their first kung fu class. Of course all the eager kids want to do is learn about "kicking butt," but Po explains there's more to martial arts than that. He grabs their attention with stories of each of the Furious Five, highlighting lessons they learned on their paths to mastering kung fu.
Is it any good?
Despite its brevity, SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE holds its own as an enjoyable series of vignettes. Each of the five stories, while not as pristinely animated as Kung Fu Panda, keeps the pace and action up while bestowing a lesson. Each has exciting characters (like an island full of gators and a fierce gorilla warrior) and an original storyline that will keep all ages engaged.
If that's not enough Pandamonium, dip into the extras, the best being a segment in which kids can imitate the moves of other kids as they demonstrate the different fighting techniques. It's a better fit for the DVD than the hip-hoppy "Learn the Panda Dance" feature, but both will definitely get young kung fu students off the couch.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the lessons the members of the Furious Five learn. Are they easy lessons or hard ones? How did the preying mantis learn to be more patient? How did the crane gain confidence? How was the monkey reminded to be compassionate? Which lessons are you still working on?