The Maykazine

Overthinking so you don't have to.

Pandas, the new penguins, are totally awesome.

Pandas. Still super cool.

po & the gang

One of the perks of stalking a group of talented animators is the access to free screenings of panda movies. Last night we caught a preview of Kung Fu Panda, and I’m excited to say I loved it! Traveling to animation screenings with animators makes me feel like a civilian observing old-time sergeants as they inspect boot camp sites. To turn the tables of expertise, I’d have to wrangle them all into an evening full of dancing at a seedy club. I don’t think that statement actually gave me any credit in any way. It’s cool. I ain’t trippin’.

The Animators liked it, too, though, and it wouldn’t be a far stretch if I said everybody in the theatre left wanting to be a rolly polly ball of black and white. Or at least something with fur. Spoilers await you after the cut, but I will say that the opening sequence was just gorgeous to watch. I loved it! The music was a surprisingly un-annoying use of pentatonic scale, and DreamWorks clearly studied up on their Chinese philosophy! Reppin’ the Asian sistahood, NBC11 news anchor Lisa Kim was there with her two cute kids. Sadly, that was the only brush with fame of the evening.

Hey, I've seen you on the television!

If you weren’t sure about shelling out money for KFP, read about Jack Black’s stunt at Cannes and tell me you don’t think “Panda” is your dream job:

Funnyman Jack Black made a dramatic entrance at the opening of the 61st Cannes Film Festival in France – arriving by speedboat with 40 people dressed as giant pandas.

After docking on Wednesday, the 38-year-old danced his way down the pier with the stuffed animals and proceeded to amuse spectators with a martial arts routine – for his new movie Kung Fu Panda.
- WENN, “Black Pulls Panda Stunt at Cannes”

Prepare to Migrate Handoko Tjung Indonesia

Last week, Why Me? (one of my inspiration blogs) posted some winners from the Good 50×70 competition. I’m not privy at all to fancy design events like these, but what I gather is that Good is a competition about sending a message in a limited amount of pixels:

If you ask most people, they’ll say that advertising, and the communications industry as a whole, sells people things they don’t need and can’t afford. It might be occasionally entertaining, but by and large it’s fundamentally wrong and unnecessary.
- Why Me?, Good 50×70 2008

A nice idea! Probably more easily sharable and spreadable than papering the town with wasteful flyers (ready to be ignored).

In keeping with the theme of today’s post, here is an entry that features a panda. Oh, and yes, it also won. It is called “Prepare to Migrate” and was created by Handoko Tjung of Indonesia.

Of course, I’m sure polar bears have no strong desires to become panda bears in order to adapt to global warming, but wouldn’t it be really cool if all the world’s endangered animals just turned into pandas? The small ones could transform into red pandas, and we’d set up panda kindergartens for all the newly evolved creatures just like this:

Not a high quality video, but even so, I could spend hours YouTubing variations of “panda kindergarten”… I’ll end this post with Solar’s* Facebook photo:pandas funny wwf wrestling

‘Nuff said.

So, Po. He’s just so cute. I love Jack Black. Even Mama Tai-Chi remarked that “He moves pretty well for such a round guy.” He makes a wonderful voice for cartoon characters, even moreso than Seth Rogen, who seems to be all about extending the life of his Average Joe persona via moving illustrations. My favorite Jack Black as Po moment was when Tai Lung kept tickling him. He sounded exactly the way kids under tickle attack do, and he communicated it all through one word, “Do-on’t!” (“You’re gonna make me pee” was pretty funny, too.)

I thought it was really clever of the screenwriters to make Po’s large and acupuncturally unmappable body a part of his advantage over Tai Lung. If the solution was simply that the scroll was a blank mirror, it would have been too hokey of a defeat. I don’t know why, but the moment where Po’s face suddenly contorts in reaction to an ill-placed needle was just hilarious. Well-timed and it had the house roaring.

In the movie, Oogway is super Mencius, saying something that seems almost too wise for a cartoon, “You must first let go of the illusion of control.” (Is the “master” turtle a reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Because even though ninjas are Japanese, that would be totally cool.)

Again, the opening sequence to KFP was lovely to watch. It was so well and thoroughly stylized that I almost wanted the entire film to run that way, but exchanging for pigs, geese, and the Ferocious Five is not a bad deal, either. I did wonder, though, why DreamWorks didn’t slot in more members of the Chinese zodiac as humble village animals. I luh me some Peking duck, but what was up with all the geese in the story?

Likewise, the cutout style in the end credits was also gorgeous. They animated a pretty sweet-looking dragon, the only dragon in the entire movie, which is not what America expects of Chinese-esque movies.

They also did a great job of keeping the audience (or me) engaged in monochromatic prison fight scenes. My mom usually complains about fight scenes being too dark, but all the movement and very careful use of contrast in KFP was very easy to watch and enjoy. I especially loved the detail on the tortoise shell that pinned Tai Lung in immobility.

The kitten versions of Tai Lung and Master Tigress? SO CUTE OH MY GOD.

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8 comments on “Pandas, the new penguins, are totally awesome.

  1. Brittney
    5 June 2008

    I recognized Lisa Kim but could not figure out where I had seen her! Thank you for clearing that up for me – I will lose no more sleep over it.

  2. themaykazine
    5 June 2008

    Haha, I had to sift through a list of “San Francisco news anchor” search results to find her, too. :) Now we know!

  3. Still Fighting
    9 June 2008

    I expected to spend 10$ and 1.5 hrs wanting to stab Jack Black… and I only did two of those things. Jack Black was totally not painful. The whole movie was a jolly good time, in fact! More pandas!

  4. themaykazine
    9 June 2008

    Have I been removed from Bad Recommendation Purgatory now?

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