Kung Fu Panda (2008) for Rent on DVD, Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that kids will definitely want to see this heavily promoted (including McDonald’s Happy Meals) animated film — which stars kid fave Jack Black as the voice of the main character, Po. And its humor and heartwarming story will appeal to grown-ups, too. The movie boasts positive messages about being who you are and believing in yourself, but it is martial arts-themed, so expect plenty of fast-paced battle scenes with kicks, punches, falls, and more. Even though they’re animated, some sequences — especially the one in which intimidating villain Tai Lung escapes from prison — may be a little too scary for kindergartners and younger. Families who buy this on DVD as the “Pandamonium Double Pack” are also getting a cartoon short called Secrets of the Furious Five. See our review.
Not surprisingly, there’s lots of martial arts action — expect tons of high-flying clashes that include punches, kicks, falls, and more. That said, the fights are generally more thrilling than frightening, though they could upset kids 5 and under — particularly the sequence in which villain Tai Lung breaks out of a maximum security prison.
Fairly clean, though the word “suck” is used prominently, and insults are hurled at Po by nearly everyone.
Po discovers that there’s no secret ingredient to greatness — you just have to be yourself. This positive theme resonates throughout the film. The issue of eating as a coping mechanism is raised (Po has to unlearn that habit).
Lots of mentions of the fictional martial arts movies that the Furious Five and other kung fu masters were in. The movie also has many promotional tie-ins.
Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol
Not an issue
Depends on your kid and your family
Not appropriate for kids of the age most likely to want to see it
When the Valley of Peace is threatened, lazy Po the panda discovers his destiny as the “chosen one” and trains to become a kung fu hero, but transforming the pudgy slacker into a brave warrior won’t be easy.,