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Kiddy Kubby: 'Skadoosh!' or 'Ska-blam!'? - that is the question


Po from Kung Fu Panda
David Abe / THE GATEPOST

By Liv Dunleavy

Staff Writer


A whopping eight years later, “Kung Fu Panda” is back with its newest installment, number four. I really enjoyed this movie - if not for the nostalgia then the fun voice actor appearances, and always-classic Po jabs. 


If you were born any time before 2008, you’re probably acquainted with the “Kung Fu Panda” series. Following three action packed adventures, our beloved Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black), has a new mission, to find his replacement as the Dragon Warrior so he can take on the role of the Spiritual Leader, a position passed down to him by Master Oogway. 


Of course Po wont go down without a fight - more like a temper tantrum - when Master Shifu delivers this news. 


While on the reluctant hunt for a new replacement, Po gets wind of a thief in the temple. He battles a small fox named Zhen (Awkwafina), and after defeating the pest, learns that she’s in the know about an evil sorcerer named The Chameleon. 


Po was planning to defeat The Chameleon alone, but Zhen has other plans. She convinces Po that he couldn’t find someone who could be - anyone - without someone in the know. 


The two embark on an adventure to find The Chameleon and defeat her before she can continue with her evil plans. 


Zhen takes Po back to her hometown, if you could call it that, as she never really had a home as an orphan. This is something Po relates to, and it brings them a bit closer. He keeps a close eye on her though, as she’s still a thief, with impure intent. 


A whirlwind of extreme Kung Fu goes on throughout this movie. Kicking butt is the way of the Kung Fu Panda. I enjoyed the new characters, such as Zhen’s sort of found family, with the master thief, Han (Ke Huy Quan) and the child bunny thieves, characters that made any scene they were in extra funny.


Po and Zhen actually learn to get along, which, from an adult’s perspective, was obviously going to happen, but it is still heartwarming to see them work together on this mission. 


If you learn anything from Zhen about this movie, take her three rules of the street.


Rule number one - never trust anyone, number two - somebody is going to get hurt, and rule number three - no one is interested in your feelings. 


Take these as gospel while watching this film and you will be way more prepared than I was.


I didn’t realize how much I missed my childhood until watching this movie. It brought me back to the days! It’s like Jack Black was made to play Po. Online, this movie was received well, but many said it lacked a lot of exposition and storytelling - that it felt rushed. 


I think it might just be me, but I really enjoyed the pacing of this movie, it hit every note! This film had me feeling that range of emotions that Dreamworks always does - the laughter, the warmth, the sadness, the betrayal! Oh that betrayal, I know it so well. 


I also really enjoyed the animation and voice acting, and I feel that now that I am older I am really able to appreciate these kinds of things more. The reactions from the side characters to each scene were so funny! I never thought this deep when watching “Kung Fu Panda” before.


The message is probably not as blaring to children, but as an elderly Gen Z, it felt like this movie was trying to speak to the few of us who still showed up. Kind of a moving-on message to us somewhat-adults, trying to figure out our place in the world. 


I felt moved by the theme of change, and being afraid of change. I felt seen. Po learned that it’s not all fun and games forever and he has to step up to the Spiritual Leader role. He spent the movie improving his wise sayings. With some improv from side characters, he upped his game a bit, but some of these quotes stuck with me, to be honest.


Po’s goose father Mr. Ping said something that kind of changed my life a bit, to put it in words that Po would understand - food lingo - Ping states, “If things always stayed the same forever, sooner or later, they would lose their flavor.”


We need to grow and change, this is how we learn who we are, and what our place in the world is.


Even if it is just a message from a silly kids movie.

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