November 10, 2005

DreamWorks to Make Martial Arts Epic: Kung Fu Panda

DreamWorks is getting ready to undertake an epic tale of survival, bravery, courage, and love. It is told in the form of a martial arts extravaganza and counts Jackie Chan among its plentiful stars.

Kung Fu Panda is set to be a product of DreamWorks' animation department. A computer animated story of a lazy panda who bears the mark of the Chosen One. A Chosen One who must defend the Valley of Peace from those who would seek to destroy it.

The star voice for this computerized excursion is Jack Black as Po the Panda. Po is the lazy panda who would be hero. Joining him is Dustin Hoffman Shifu (clearly a play on the word sifu, meaning teacher) as the martial arts master who must teach Po. The previously mentioned Jackie Chan will give life to Master Monkey, a warrior who, I guess, will be Po's sidekick. On the side of evil is Ian MacShane from Deadwood, as Tai Lung, a snow leopard and Po's adversary. Lucy Liu is in ongoing negotiations to voice Master Viper, another of Po's teachers.

Seeing the bits of plot description that have been offered, I cannot help but be reminded of Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. It was another tale of a supposed Chosen One on a mission, albeit a live action comedy spliced with an old kung fu flick. I have thoughts of a Madagascar inspired look with goofy comedy, and not terribly successful.

The concept just doesn't jibe with what I believe will be created and marketed as a summer family comedy. Don't get me wrong, it could be done, and probably rather well. Just my thoughts don't give me a lot of hope. Of course, this is early in production, not slated for release until 2008.

Here's hoping the concept rises to the top.


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