Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda ★★★★★

My revelation on this rewatch is that it is equally possible that randomness picked Po as much as destiny, that against Oogway's teachings there actually may be accidents. Self-fulfilling prophecies seem to inarguably to be the main theme here, even long before the main reveal of the secret ingredient. From Po being chosen because he quite literally fell in front of the pointing finger, to Shifu's reaction to Tai Lung's eventual return being the reason he goes free, this central theme is established early on. Fate as an objective controlling force may not actually exist, but the belief in it actively validates and attests to it, enabling a paradox of faith: the film firmly refuses to confirm either potential truth, and depending on one's own convictions it is up to each viewer to decide if our destiny is determined by oneself or by fate.

However, the film posits that this discussion is essentially irrelevant on a practical level. Po being a panda and coming to terms with everything about his self and his being, is the most crucial factor to his victory, both over the villain to save the town and the integrity of Kung Fu, as well as his personal triumph of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and ultimately, self-fulfillment. Whether fate controls the universe or there are accidents, Po is the hero of this story.

The one thing that's always bothered me every time I watch this is at the end of the dumpling fight, when Po finally gets the dumpling and proclaims, "I'm not hungry." While I understand this moment is supposed to signify his selfless allegiance to Kung Fu, the entire movie, and especially this scene, puts a strong emphasis on his eating habits being a part of his character. To my eye this is the only instance that momentarily betrays his character, and while it's such a small moment it doesn't truly detract from the film it is nevertheless mildly bothersome to me.

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