Ryan Palmer’s review published on Letterboxd:
Around the time of "Kung Fu Panda's" release, DreamWorks was sliding down hill in terms of the quality of their films. Films like "Shark Tale", "Shrek the Third" and "Bee Movie" were financial hits, but received mostly negative reviews. Then came along "Kung Fu Panda", which changed everything. People probably didn't expect anything awesome out this film, but it surprised everyone. It spawned two sequels, several specials and a TV show on Nickelodeon. "Kung Fu Panda" is truly one of DreamWorks best films, right up there with "Shrek" or "Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were Rabbit". The concept does sound incredibly silly. Seriously, a panda wants to learn Kung Fu and he is accidently chosen as the Dragon Warrior. This sounds so stupid, right? Surprisingly, the movie pulls of this silly concept with a lot of heart and dazzle. The movie gives us plenty of memorable characters. The panda, Po, is a lovable protagonist. He has a dream about learning Kung Fu and working along side his icons: the Furious Five. According to an online source, Po was supposed to be written as a jerk, but once Jack Black came on to provide the voice, the makers decided to make the character a number one fan kind of guy. That actually was a great choice because not only does that make the character more relatable, Jack Black can pull off this kind of role in his sleep. Black is a truly gifted actor and his work shines here. The other actors are amazing and bring to life other lovable characters. From Dustin Hoffman as Shifu to Ian McShane as Ti Lung, everyone fits their roles perfectly. Another thing that makes these characters great is the wonderful writing. The movie succeeds at making these characters interesting and complex. Rather than making the characters tired stereotypes or tired clichés, the film manages to their conflicts and changes. Shifu has doubts about Po at first, but later he realizes that once his master has past on and that a threat is coming and that Po is the only one who can stop the threat. It's because of wonderful writing like this that makes these characters memorable. The film's moral is also very effectively pulled off and it's something anyone can apply to their lives. The animation is just as dazzling as the script. The colors are beautiful and the movements are great, especially in the fight scenes. In terms of animation, "Kung Fu Panda" is one of DreamWorks best. The movie is also very funny thanks to well written jokes and great comedic talent. This film is truly a masterpiece and one that I will enjoy watching forever.