How can something so brilliant also be so fun?
Pixar brought the animated feature to new amazing levels. It trumped Disney, which for many years set the standards by which animated films were measured. But then Disney brought Pixar into the fold and handily got rid of the competition.
That is until Fox and Dreamworks started learning the tricks of the trade with movies like Shrek and Ice Age. Fox recently took leadership with the wonderful Rio. Nice. But its reign turned out to be short-lived. That is because along came this lumbering but oh so adorable panda named Po in a sweet tale of love, sacrifice and self-discovery.
Movie-goers first met Po three years ago in Kung Fu Panda. He was the lazy but kung fu obsessed son of a goose that owned a noodle shop. Then it turned out that he was born to fulfill an old prophecy about saving his village and maybe all of China from evildoers. Thanks to the patience of his guru, Master Shifu, Po is soon equipped with the kung fu skills of his idols, the famous Furious Five and was able to defend the people from the snow leopard Tai Lung.
Kung Fu Panda was lots of fun and made money. The kids adored the picture and voice actor Jack Black gained a huge following. But as with every new animated feature that comes along, there were questions raised. Did it have what it takes to become a successful franchise title? Maybe not because Po was nothing like the usual superhero. Can it fuel a merchandising frenzy to meet the demand of consumers? I did not really see Po dolls or books around. Will it stand a sequel, and another and another? Things were sort of quiet in this area until recently.