Story

This movie follows the story of Po (voice of Jack Black), a Panda who works in his father’s noodle shop, but dreams of becoming a Kung Fu champion. When Po learns that the village is hosting a tournament to nominate a Dragon Warrior, he makes his way to the Jade Palace to watch the festivities. 

Unfortunately, Po’s journey is made slower by the noodle trolley his father insists he take along. He arrives just as the palace gates are closing.  After making several failed attempts to make it over the high palace walls, Po finally launches himself into the tournament arena with the aid of several firecrackers strapped to a chair. After regaining consciousness, he discovers that the wise tortoise has selected him as the new Dragon Warrior, much to the surprise of Kung Fu Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and his ‘Furious Five’ disciples (Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Randall Duk Kim, David Cross and Lucy Liu). 

Shortly afterwards, the evil snow-leopard Tai Lung escapes from the dungeon in which he is imprisoned. He vows to wreak vengeance on Po and Shifu for preventing him from taking the mantle of Dragon Warrior himself. Realising that the overweight and out-of-condition Po will be no match for Tai Lung, the Furious Five go into battle on his behalf.  Meanwhile, Master Shifu begins training Po and eventually shows him the ancient Dragon Scroll, whose message is believed to reveal the secret of the invincible warrior. When the Furious Five come back defeated, Po bravely faces Tai Lung and a life-and-death battle ensues.

Themes

None of concern

Violence

There is frequent violence in this movie, some of which could disturb children and some of which they might imitate. For example:

  • Master Shifu often strikes Po harshly about the head and body with his bamboo rod.  Shifu and the members of the Furious Five fighting group also frequently strike and kick Po during training sessions. Such violence is depicted in a cartoon-like way and realistic consequences are not shown.
  • Numerous episodes of animated fight sequences occur outside Kung Fu training sessions. Fight scenes involve slapping, punching, kicking, tossing through ceilings and over roofs, strangulation and choking with a rope.  Again, realistic consequences of these actions are not depicted.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight. For example:

  • Several scenes show the evil snow leopard Tai Lung snarling in a menacing way and flashing his fiery eyes.
  • Tai Lung escapes from the underground stone dungeon in which he has been imprisoned. As he breaks the shackles and chains binding him, he growls menacingly at the prison guards, who become terrified and try to get away from him.
  • Towards the end of the film, there is a long fight sequence between Master Shifu and Tai Lung. Children may become frightened when it becomes apparent that Master Shifu might die. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group could also be disturbed by scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language 

None of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

Kung Fu Panda is a cleverly animated film that both children and adults will enjoy.  Although there are numerous cartoon-like fight sequences, the story may stimulate some valuable discussions about loyalty and self-esteem.

The main message children will take from this movie is that ordinary individuals can do extraordinary things if they believe in themselves. Parents can discuss this idea with children as well as the values represented in the movie – for example, loyalty, self-esteem and commitment

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as the consequences of violent actions, and how to resolve conflict without violence or aggression.