Tomorrow – that’s right on Sunday, November 9th – Paramount and Dreamworks will release the animated hit Kung Fu Panda on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. I hadn’t watched Kung Fu Panda, aside from trailers and clips, along with an extended scene at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, that featured Po vigorously attempting to grab some dumplings from his master’s bowl. The scene was selected by martial arts film maestro Ric Meyers of Inside Kung-Fu Magazine, as one of the greatest and funniest kung-fu fights of all time, not animated kung fu fights mind you, greatest of all time, during the Annual Superhero Kung-Fu Extravaganza at the convention. Ever since, I’ve been salivating to watch the movie, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact watching the film in Blu-ray format was an incredible experience. Digital animation translates so well to the format, and the level of detail was astounding.
Although the basic storyline and moral of Kung Fu Panda are from standard animated film blueprints, exploring the Asian martial arts aesthetic easily transcends any ideas of it being a re-tread. The movie contains enough hilarious material, colorful thrills, and moments of genuine sadness, to qualify it as solid family film material.
Kung Fu Panda follows enthusiastic, big and clumsy Po, who works in his family’s noodle shop while daydreaming about becoming a Kung Fu master. His dreams soon become reality when he is unexpectedly chosen to join the world of Kung Fu and study alongside his idols—the legendary fighters Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey—under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it’s up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat.
The extras on the disc are divided into sub-sections. Under Inside Kung Fu Panda, we get an in-depth Filmmakers’ commentary, with optional subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, an Animators’ Corner, a cool onscreen Trivia Track and an HD feature titled Meet the Cast which, in 13 minutes, which gives us a glimpse of the preparation of the voice actors, including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Michael Clarke Duncan, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu and Ian McShane.
There are two more hi-def featurettes, including Pushing the Boundaries, which runs 7 minutes and another from Conservation International, called Help Save Wild Pandas. Under the main section Po’s Power Play we have more light kid’s stuff from Dragon Warrior Training Academy to Learn to Draw which teaches you how to draw some of the main characters in the film.
The next one The Sounds and Moves of Kung Fu Panda handles the specific area of the sound department of film. Next are HD featurettes on the Sound Design, a Kung Fu Fighting Music Video by Cee-Lo, Learn the Panda Dance, and Do You Kung Fu?.
Land of the Panda includes more fun options from Mr. Ping’s Noodle House and How to Use Chopsticks to Inside the Chinese Zodiac and a short piece on the Animals of Kung Fu Panda, which was one of my favorite bits of extra content. Another amusing bit asks the question What Fighting Style Are You?
The Kung Fu Panda Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition with English 5.1 Dolby True HD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
Kung Fu Panda also has two retail collectible exclusives to celebrate the release.
Walmart – Exclusive Gift Set with Ty Beanie Babies PO the Panda Plush.
Target – 3-Disc Value Pack includes the DVD, the all-new adventure Secrets of the Furious Five, and the complete Kung Fu Panda PC Game from Activision.