“Kung Fu Panda Holiday”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It seems like only a year ago that I was saying there should be a Kung Fu Panda holiday special, and one year later here we are. Wow, right?! The power I have in this town, even scares me at times. I not only love the fact that DreamWorks Animation is keeping the spirit of the holiday specials alive and kicking, but they also don’t just phone-it-in like a Disney straight to DVD film. Each special always enlists the talents of its respective films’ original voice talent, no matter how big the name. I really hope that other production houses are considering following in DreamWorks footsteps next year. Are you listening Warner Brothers? Between the Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbara, and DC Comics, you guys are sitting on a smorgasbord of material. One of my all-time favorite holiday specials from when I was a kid is Hanna-Barbara’s Yogi’s First Christmas. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend tracking it down. It was never officially released on DVD, but you can order a made-to-order copy from Warner Bros. directly. Just chick here. They might show it on Boomerang, or even finally release it officially on DVD this year with the upcoming Yogi Bear movie, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

In Kung Fu Panda Holiday, Po finds himself torn between spending the holiday with his new family the Furious Five and his fellow kung-fu masters, or with his father. It’s not until he tries his best to do both, that he realizes what is truly important. Yes, it’s clichéd, but DreamWorks Animation always seems to pull it off in a way that makes it enjoyable and fun at the same time. At one point Po’s father tells him he’s sorry for making him feel guilty, and Po just replies, “That’s what the holidays are all about.” There’s also this great bunny, played by 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer, who has been mistakenly dishonorably disgraced and wishes to die an honorable death, so he’s constantly trying to get Po to kill him. I know, not the type of subject matter you’d expect to find in a children’s holiday special. But, you know what? It’s funny. We also all need to chill out a little bit. We’re getting way too uptight. Three knuckle deep searches at the airport?! I know we want the world to be a better place, but we also need to relax a little bit. Okay, my rant is over for now. Where was I? Oh yeah, Kung Fu Panda. The artistic style of the film comes through masterfully, and the quick animation movements from scene to scene are here as well. I was a big fan of the Kung Fu Panda movie, and can’t wait for this summer’s sequel. Here’s my prediction for next year’s two specials, a Megamind Halloween special in October, followed by a How to Train Your Dragon Christmas. Place your bets now, and we’ll see you next year!