It was hard to know what to think about Kung Fu Panda at first. The heroic Po wasn’t much to look at and the chance to hear Jack Black after he’d been getting a little too much for a lot of people in films wasn’t all that exciting. But then people saw the film and found out that having to listen to Jack Black was sometimes a lot more fun than watching his regular movies. Kung Fu Panda is all about Po’s desire to learn Kung Fu and the supposedly accidental nature of how he comes to be accepted as the legendary Dragon Warrior that will save the valley and stand against the dreaded Tai Lung, a former student of the Jade Palace that seeks the dragon scroll, an ancient artifact that can give the bearer unlimited power.
Despite his doubts, Po is the only one that can stand in Tai Lung’s way.
10. It took four years to make.
From conception to production this film had to have taken a lot of work to accomplish since even back then the animation was still evolving.
9. Dustin Hoffman tutored Jack Black for a scene.
During his performance on the staircase during the nighttime scene Hoffman managed to give Black a few pointers on how to act.
8. The animator’s took a class in Kung Fu.
This six-hour class was so the animators could get a better idea of how the characters should look and move in order to improve the animation.
7. The fighting styles of each character are modeled after real Kung Fu styles.
Obviously Po is using bear style while the others are all using styles accustomed to the animals they represent.
6. The opening scene is an homage to anime.
It was important to make it known that the opening was a dream sequence so the director kept it hand-drawn. The rest of the film was done in CGI.
5. This film actually impressed Chinese audiences.
The attention to detail and the genuine use of culture was what really caught people’s attention. It also made China wonder why they hadn’t thought of pursuing such great leaps in animation.
4. James Hong’s father owned a noodle shop.
During his interview for the part of Mr. Ping it was found out that Hong’s father had owned a noodle shop of his own so it was then incorporated into his character.
3. The main characters had to be reworked a bit.
Tai Lung was a tragic character looking for redemption at first and Po was just a creepy fanboy. By tweaking the characters Tai Lung became an ungrateful and vengeful villain while Po became a lover of martial arts that badly wanted to fit in.
2. It was originally supposed to be a spoof film.
The original idea was to make a funny film spoofing Kung Fu but then the director decided that he wanted to make it funny, but still genuine enough to recognize and respect the culture.
1. The enemies in the beginning of the movie turn out to be the enemies in the second and third film.
The main bad guy in the opening scene is Kai from the third film, while the wolves are the wolf army in the second film.
One of the best parts of this film is that it’s inspirational and sends a great message that there’s no secret to being great other than being yourself.