Kung Fu Panda (PG)

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The Independent Culture

You get the feeling watching Kung Fu Panda that they came up with the title and the range of toys first, and didn't start thinking about the story until much, much later.

It's a jolly DreamWorks cartoon about, well, you know what it's about from that title. Jack Black provides the voice of a fat, greedy panda who works in his dad's noodle shop in ancient China, but dreams of fighting alongside the Furious Five, a band of animal martial artists living in a mountain-top temple above the town. Kung Fu Panda has some zappy action, and there are moments when it's a very funny Jack Black comedy that just happens to be animated, but the narrative doesn't have any of the ingenious twists that still put Pixar's cartoons way ahead of its rivals'. As I said about Wanted last week, and Iron Man before that, Kung Fu Panda is a film with a long training-session montage where its plot should be.