Essay Kung Fu Panda

Essay Kung Fu Panda

Length: 1986 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

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Kung Fu Panda is an animated family, comedy, action-adventure film directed by Mark Osbourne and John Stevenson. Released in 2008, it stars Jack Black as the voice of the protagonist, Po, an enormous but lovable panda. Before Po’s journey, Po is a very different panda than the one we admire by the end. Lazy, socially awkward, and ridiculed for his size, he often breaks plates and sleeps in while working as a waiter at his father’s restaurant in the Valley of Peace. Knowing he doesn’t fit in, Po indulges himself in a dream world where he is a kung fu warrior working alongside his heroes, the Furious Five. After he is “accidentally” chosen to become the “Dragon Warrior,” completes long months of training, and is victorious in an epic battle, Po finally defeats the antagonist Tai Lung. He then becomes respected and revered by the villagers, including his father. Po’s Hero’s Journey transforms him from an idle dreamer into an assertive, capable warrior.
Po’s call comes in the form of a piercing gong ringing over the valley. He immediately ascertains the “Dragon Warrior” is to be chosen, and, going against his father’s orders to serve noodles, rushes to the Jade Palace, anxiously anticipating the final decision. After a fateful incident involving a chair loaded with fireworks, Po finally lands in the walls of the palace, after he was earlier unable to get inside the palace doors before they closed. Dizzy and startled, Po wakes up to find the finger of the great tortoise Master Oogway pointed right at him. Gasps go out as everyone present realizes Po has been chosen to become the great “Dragon Warrior.” As the celebrations begin, Master Shifu, a red panda who eventually becomes Po’s mentor, begs Master Oogway to reconsider his decision...


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... and Shifu lay down next to each other, until Po says, “‘Want to get something to eat?’” (Kung Fu Panda 2008). Shifu responds, sighing, “‘Yeah”’ (Kung Fu Panda 2008).
Kung Fu Panda is a pristine example of the Hero’s Journey. As the viewer follows Po’s journey, it is very easy to identify each stage of the journey and see how these stages transform Po from a lazy slug into a ninja-like warrior, calling out his catch phrase “‘Skadoosh!’” as he demonstrates his supreme kung-fu abilities (Kung Fu Panda 2008). He gains self-confidence in his abilities, using his newly discovered inner strength to rise above his obstacles. However, the film’s ending is just the beginning for Po. He can now use his knowledge and his training to defend the Valley of Peace and all of China with the help of his now-comrades and greatest allies, the Furious Five and Master Shifu.




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