Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TV on DVD Review: Kung Fu Panda Holiday

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: A warm holiday special with Kung Fu Panda characters
Cons: Might not appeal quite as much to adults as it will kids
The Bottom Line:
A warm holiday
Despite the winter setting
Po makes a great host

Who Should Po Prepare the Winter Feast For?

Of all DreamWorks’ franchises, Kung Fu Panda is my favorite.  (They’ve got a couple of great stand alones as well that could become favorite franchises, but that’s another post.)  Still, I somehow missed Kung Fu Panda Holiday when it aired on TV.  Fortunately, I was able to catch up with it on DVD.

The Winter Festival is coming, and Po (voiced by Jack Black) is looking forward to the annual feast.  He and his father always serve a festive meal in the family restaurant for their friends who have no one else to celebrate the day with.  It’s become a tradition that everyone looks forward to.

However, this year, as the newly discovered Dragon Warrior, it is Po’s responsibility to create a feast for all the Kung Fu masters in China.  Suddenly, every gesture he makes has incredible meaning.  Will he be able to pull of the feast or will the pressure be too much for him?  And what about his own family tradition?

Anyone who has seen a Christmas special or two knows where this is going.  However, the journey to get there is still fun and the final few scenes are very rewarding.  Po is always a lovable main character, and his antics keep you engaged throughout the entire show.  I do feel this is a bit more aimed at kids rather than their parents.  They will enjoy it the most, although there’s nothing here that will irritate or annoy parents.

While Christmas is never mentioned in the special, it is obvious this is a Christmas special.  Of course, since the franchise is set in ancient China, it makes sense they would not celebrate the holiday the way we do.  Still, there are enough similarities that it will give you that glorious feeling you get from Christmas specials.

The voice cast from the movie is back for this special, and they do a delightful job of bringing their characters to life again.  The focus is really on Po, so most of the supporting cast doesn't have much to do, but when they are around, they are great.  The animation might be a bit scaled back since it was done for TV, but it is still impressive and enjoyable.

I’m sorry I missed Kung Fu Panda Holiday when it was on TV, but I’m glad I got a chance to see it now.  Any fan of the franchise will enjoy seeing their friends again every December.

NOTE: I watched this as part of the Dreamworks Holiday Collection, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

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