Ian’s review published on Letterboxd:
"To make something special you just have to believe it's special."
Its a beautiful thing when you go to rewatch a film you haven't seen in multiple years and you find it to be so much better than you remembered. I remember first seeing this in theaters and it was an instant favorite of mine and it kind of got lost in time for me. Years later, I find myself head over heals for DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda once again, and its become the film that has had them making great films again.
From the beginning of their filmography DreamWorks hasn't had many showstoppers. The first two Shrek films and The Prince of Egypt were the only truly "great" films and now we have Kung Fu Panda and its pretty much perfect. From the animation style, to the well voiced characters, the film embraces the nature of what its trying to be and it does so perfectly.
Directed by two Kung Fu film fans, Mark Osbourne and John Stevenson being the life into the film and have it stand against all other martial arts films that exist. I love just how well they balance everything, its truly remarkable to see. The animation style is gorgeous. Possibly the most beautiful looking DreamWorks film to date. The true masterful thing that holds Kung Fu Panda together is is story. Its a typical story, and yet, it works wonders on me. The truth that this films shows it wonderful and it holds its own in self-realization films like this.
The characters are another masterful element of Kung Fu Panda. I feel the role of Po was only written for Jack Black, as he fits the character to a tee and has such s charismatic voice that works with the film so well. Ian McShane is pure brilliance as Tai Lung. I could listen to him talk all day. With Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, and Seth Rogen bringing in to support them, Kung Fu Panda has the characters of a lifetime. I love just how well they work together and how much enthusiasm they all have.
This is truly DreamWorks first masterpiece, and I love it so. I actually didn't expect myself to love it as much as I did while I was watching it, but I'm so glad I do. The film has a, simply put, beautiful animation style, a story that is the glue of it all, characters to fall in love with, and an overall arc that brings in truth and emotion. Kung Fu Panda is perfect in its own sense, and definitely the best film from DreamWorks thus far.