Kungfu Panda Versus Jungle Book Or Both?

Kung-Fu-Panda-3-featGiven a choice  between Kungfu Panda Versus Jungle Book, it would be Kung fu panda for me .From the first shot the movie is a laugh riot and many of the dialogues which are said in a funny way you can, have deep and motivational connotations.

For me, Kung fu Panda 3 is way better then Jungle Book even in the context of content, comic timing,by  way of presentation .If you’re one of those adults who roll their eyes when they have to wear a pair of 3-D glasses at the multiplex, then don’t fret as the lovely, colorful, pop-up visuals in Kung Fu Panda 3 are worth every minute of discomfiture.

A huge shout out to the directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and Alessandro Carloni!!The dubbing by established starry cast of voices like Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, J K Simmons, Jackie Chan, Kate Hudson, Seth Rogan gives the final kudos to the movie.

The evocative visuals are accompanied by heart touching, funny dialogue, and child-like humor; like gorging on dumplings for example. The movie is like a perfect dumpling, that’s neither too heavy nor too light, with the right amount of spice, waiting for the next helping and the next.

Po’s goofy persona cuckolds the heart of every child as well as adult. My favorite dialogue was when he discovers other pandas don’t use chopsticks and he says: “I always KNEW I wasn’t eating up to my full potential”.

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The film begins in the spirit realm, where Oogway, the ancient kung fu master. and the tortoise is suddenly assaulted by the villainous bull or yak Kai, a former friend. Kai has spent the past few centuries collecting all the “chi” power from kung fu masters and storing it in amulets. His aim is to bring his supernatural army to the mortal world and defeat Po, his anointed adversary.

Master of Pain, Beast of Vengeance, Maker of Widows are some of the titles given to Kai, the cruel antagonist.

The rotund and cuddly panda is shown goofing around until he is asked by Shifu to teach.  I like the dialogue when the old master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) informs Po that he must now take over the onerous task of teaching kung fu. “Me teach?” Po asks. Shifu replies: “If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than what you are now.” If even a few kids or even adults understand the meaning of these words they could change their lives for sure.

The entry of Po’s biological father, Li adds more drama and his entry gives anxiety to Po’s adoptive father, Mr. Ping (I loved the protective goose). “How do we know he’s even related to you?” Mr. Ping who is a goose asks angrily, as the pandas happily smack bellies.

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Po makes the journey with Li to the secret mountain commune where pandas live so he can master his own “chi”, which he’ll need to defeat Kai. In this charming sequence, it is a joy to see Po meet and hug his extended panda family after all these years. This part highlights family and the importance of kith and kin. Eventually, this is a story about having the valor to live up to one’s potential and making a go of it.

Seeing all that food or rather dumplings, made my tummy rumble and I got a big bucket of popcorn to see me through the rest of the movie.The father-son duo of Li and Po are adorable. Bryan Cranston’s Li is an exercise in subtlety.

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What is Kung Fu Panda’s main plot?  Po is happy living with his adopted father and training with master Shifu and the furious five – the pretty Tigress, the wriggly Monkey, the crawly Mantis, the slithery Viper and long-neckedCrane. Like most movies, the world needs saving. The threat comes from a yak or bull from the spirit world, Kai. Kai has got hold of the life force or Chi of all the kung fu masters in the spirit world and uses them as grotesque jade zombie warriors. Po, in his camp, has got his newfound real dad Li (an adorable father figure), a village full of cute, cuddly pandas. This journey towards self awareness for Po, his two fathers and even for Shifu is rendered in amazing colour and it took my breath away. The secret panda village, especially, is dreamlike. Its soothing sunset, its burst of colour and its people will be etched in your memory long after you walk out of the movie theater. Even the spirit world’s subtle gold tones are pleasingly done. Li, the father is a lot like Po, just older. Then there is Mei Mei, the ribbon-dancing panda who is added as the prospective love interest for Po but is given a short cameo. Maybe we will get to see more of her in Kung Fu Panda 4.

The film offers wholesome entertainment for children but has also kept the parents engaged. We went as a group from the Book Club to watch the movie and I had a real good time watching my friends’ kids popping up and down in their seats and clapping in glee. The movie is endearing and total paisa vasool, like a giant panda hug.  Young or old, just go for it and enjoy the fun.

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Here is the gist of  The Jungle Book movie review. To entertain people who already know the story is extremely difficult but The Jungle book does it with great ease.The characters in the movie all seem real although Neel Sethi’s Mowgli is the only human entity in this live action film but I think I felt, Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan and party real too.

Present day technology has made this film what it is and it has been compared to Avatar. But I think that it lacked the spectacle somehow. The film shows the jungle come alive and the animals emote with their eyes.It is like recreating magic. Agreed that the computer wizardry is awesomely successful in the portrayal of the animals, they look so real – from the way they talk to their loping, sinuous walk to even their eyes – which you eventually start believing that they are real and not graphic but when you compare it with the eye-popping effects of Kung fu panda it falls short.

Mowgli is brought up in the jungle just like the animals and the jungle is filled with fearsome beasts but for Mowgli it still is home and the comfort zone for him is in the cave with his adopted wolf mother. The jungle shows different colours from sunny to sinister as the movie goes on but there is something missing, I wish I knew what. I could not connect as well as I did with Kung fu Panda.

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The story of the film is Rudyard Kipling’s ageless tale – abandoned ‘man-cub’ Mowgli was found by the wise panther Bagheera when he was a toddler. He brought the child to a pack of wolves which is headed by Akela and mother wolf Raksha, who brings him up with her other cubs.

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When the dry season starts, a water truce is called and all the animals drink at the river together, the weary tiger Shere Khan demands that the man-cub should be given up as per law of the jungle. He announces that he would attack the wolves if Mowgli is not brought to him. To save Mowgli, Bagheera takes him to the human. On the way, Mowgli meets the slothful bear Baloo, the mysterious serpent Kaa and gigantopithecus (not orangutan) King Louie. The scene where Kaa, hissing loudly, coils around Mowgli and aims to sting is one of the most powerful scenes of the film and is picturised very dramatically.

Shere Khan’s cruelty makes the jungle a terrifying, dark place and the voice work by Elba adds a more menacing note to the character. Ben Kingsley’s Bagheera, who is also the narrator, is a faithful figure, Mowgli’s father figure and the voice of sagacity .But the real winner and my favorite is Murray’s Baloo. A freeloader who is not above a bit of lying if it can get the job done; Baloo is the story’s main comic relief. His bonding with Mowgli gives the film its heart. In fact he gets the film’s best dialogues in the film.

When the two sing the melodious song Bare Necessities they had me singing along. The shaggy ambling sloth beat fits Murray’s languid dialogue-delivery to the T. That leaves us with Neel Sethi, our Mowgli and the protagonist, who was a tough find. The Indian American boy is naturally gifted and his innocent cherubic look brings the character to life. I liked him best in the action scenes; the way he runs on his little feet is adorable. Scarlett Johansson was heard a little in Kaa but what a cameo that was, I was surely asking for more.

My kids grew up in the 90’s in India singling aloud the ‘Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai’ track and am sure they will surely switch to this Disney anthem. The Jungle Book is no longer cute and cuddly but a tale of survival as it really is a jungle out there. I was shaken out of my seat during the scene with Kaa and kids would surely be scared. Kids still love the movie but I feel that the filmmakers could do away with the fear.

The moment when Baloo makes it to the top of the hill where the despot orangutan King Louie (Christopher Walken) has his temple brings out such smiles. The climax with the scarred Bengal tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), carries you along on a restrained current of fantasy to a thunderous and comprehensive action sequence that amazes you while neatly tying off every remaining sequences.

Few lines from Kipling’s poem- “The Law of The Jungle”; ‘For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf/and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack” are repeated a few times and tend to lurk in your mind. The sequence where Mowgli stares into one of Kaa’s eyes and he sees his own origin story play out within it is one of the gems embellished in the storyline.

Linking astounding images of rain forests, watering holes and collapsing temples, a couple of human actors, and realistic mammals, birds and reptiles that nonetheless talk, joke and even sing in celebrity voices, the movie creates its own dreamland that is illustrated and at the same time seems tactile.

Everything said and done both the Movies Kung Fu Panda and The Jungle book are a must see; whether you are 2 or 52 is inconsequential.

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