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DREAMWORKS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Tim Johnson
Cast:
Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu , David Cross
Writing Credits:
Jonathan Groff, Jon Pollack

Synopsis:
In this hilarious action adventure, Master Shifu calls on Po to host the year's biggest event - the Winter Feast, a special time of the year to celebrate family, tradition and the awesomeness of Kung Fu! Po and the Furious Five must team up to throw the best celebration the Valley of Peace has ever seen. Can Po pull off the perfect party, impress his heroes, and discover the true meaning of the Winter Feast?

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 11/6/2012

Bonus:
• “Learn to Draw: Wo Hop” Featurette
• “Mr. Ping’s Noodle House”
• “How to Use Chopsticks” Featurette
• “World of DreamWorks Animation”
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Kung Fu Panda Holiday [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 3, 2012)

Apparently DreamWorks plans to use all their animated characters for seasonal specials, so the existence of Kung Fu Panda Holiday should come as no surprise. Given the series’ geographical base in China, I should probably be happy it doesn’t become a standard Christmas program.

The winter feast for kung fu masters is on the horizon, and Po the panda (voiced by Jack Black) gets tabbed as the host by his mentor Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). At first, this excites Po, but a few issues arise. For one, Po feels a lot of pressure to do his best, and he fears he’ll let down his friends.

In addition, Po can’t invite his father Mr. Ping (James Hong). Since Mr. Ping already worries that Po will leave him, this factor exacerbates those concerns. We follow these various themes as they build toward the climactic feast.

On the positive side, Holiday manages to bring back all of the original actors from 2008’s Kung Fu Panda. I admire that about the various DreamWorks specials, as they rarely resort to replacement voices. The presence of big names like Hoffman, Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen adds class to the project.

Unfortunately, most of these actors get little to do, and the project itself seems mediocre from start to finish. This may well be the most generic holiday special I’ve ever seen, largely due to its relentless avoidance of the “C” word: “Christmas”.

As I hinted at the start, because the show takes place in non-Christian China, it would be illogical to make it a true Christmas special. However, the show sure seems to want to convey the idea/spirit of Christmas without any invocation of the actual occasion.

And that makes it feel weird. Characters constantly refer to “the holiday” without any mention of a specific holiday. It’s just “the holiday” this and “the holiday” that. Eventually I wanted to yell “just say ‘Christmas’ already, anthropomorphized bear!”

Even without the show’s refusal to acknowledge any specific event, it would come across as relentlessly ordinary and generic. It namechecks all the usual Christmas special themes – family, friends, giving back, etc. – without adding anything particularly interesting to the format.

Indeed, it sometimes feels like the show wants to go out of its way to neuter any sense of individuality. It does little to take advantage of its characters or situations, so it just plods along as it gives us its inevitable morals.

This makes Holiday a substantial disappointment. Perhaps all the voice talent cost so much that the producers couldn’t afford a good script. All I know is that Holiday winds up as a dull dud.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Kung Fu Panda Holiday appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer looked terrific.

No issues with sharpness ever materialized. At all times, the show looked crisp and concise, without any softness on display. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and the presentation lacked edge haloes. I also witnessed no signs of source flaws throughout the clean image.

Holiday went with a stylized palette that could be chilly and desaturated due to the winter setting. Warmer colors did appear, though, so it wasn’t all cold blues and the like. All of these seemed vivid within stylistic constraints; the colors consistently looked well-rendered. Blacks came across as deep and firm, while low-light shots seemed smooth and concise. I found nothing to criticize in this excellent presentation.

Though not as memorable, the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Holiday worked fine. The soundfield boasted good stereo music as well as decent use of effects. The forward spectrum dominated, but the surrounds got a bit to do as well, primarily via various cooking scenes. The various speakers melded together in a positive manner to involve us in the material as necessary.

Audio quality always satisfied. Speech appeared distinctive and crisp, while effects fared nicely as well. Those elements offered good clarity and range. Music was also lively and full. This was too low-key a soundfield for a high grade, but it suited the special.

A smattering of minor extras fill out the set. For the five-minute, 42-second How to Draw: Wo Hop, we find a tutorial with Head of Story Tom Owens. He shows/tells us the methods necessary to draw the animated character. This is an insubstantial but decent addition.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday Shuffle delivers two games. We can “Follow the Candle” or go with “Wo Hop and the Golden Ladle”. With “Candle”, we get an electronic version of Three Card Monte; it’s slow enough that it’ll be playable for kids but no challenge for adults. “Ladle” is the same game – and just as easy – but with different graphics.

Under Mr. Ping’s Noodle House, we find a four-minute, 40-second piece with Iron Chef America host Alton Brown. He introduces us to Chef Danny Yip and we learn how to make noodles. This becomes another watchable but not particularly interesting show.

Another tutorial shows up via the two-minute, 54-second How to Use Chopsticks. As expected, this teaches us what we need to do to eat with chopsticks. I’ll stick with forks, thank you, but I’ll refer back to this featurette if I ever decide to change.

Under World of DreamWorks Animation, we get elements related to other movies. We see a mix of music videos and advertisements in this forgettable collection.

The disc opens with ads for Rise of the Guardians, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and Madly Madagascar. These also appear under Previews along with clips for It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

On a second disc, we get a DVD Copy of Kung Fu Panda Holiday. This delivers a retail version with the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With all the original voice talent in tow, I hoped that Kung Fu Panda Holiday would deliver a fun special. However, it seems generic to the point of mediocrity and does nothing to make itself lively or memorable. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals, good audio and some minor bonus features. If you adore the Kung Fu Panda characters, you’ll probably want to give this one a look, but don’t expect much creativity from it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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