Monday, June 30, 2008

Lessons I Learned From Watching Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda is an animated Dreamworks kids movie that to date has grossed more than $631,000,000 worldwide (updated January 2012). It features the voices of Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Lucie Liu.

The hero is an overweight panda bear named Po that learns Kung Fu.

I didn't take my kids to see it but did watch it myself as I was tipped off that it might be something I'd want to blog about.

Wanna know what some of the take home messages included?

  • Fat people are clumsy and fun to laugh at

    As evidenced by Po's belly being the punchline of the majority of the movies jokes with of course the requisite sight gags of his belly knocking over bowls of food and his weight snapping a pole vault, a tree and more.

  • Fat is something that a person can be judged on,
    "That flabby panda can't possibly be the dragon warrior. You were about to appoint the tigress and that "thing" fell in front of her"

    "One would think master Ugway would at least choose someone who could touch his toes...or at least see his toes"
  • Fat people eating are disgusting

    As told by Po when Shifu finds him eating Monkey's almond cookies
    "Yeah, I know, I disgust you"
  • Fat people will do anything for food and get angry if food is taken away from them

    Shifu trains Po by having him try to catch and defend his dumplings culminating in a "fight" with Shifu over the last dumpling (the fight's embedded below); that it's only Po's gluttony that provides him with sufficient incentive to truly become the Dragon Warrior.

    The nice way to look at the ending is that size in the end doesn't matter.

    What a shame that arriving at that conclusion comes at the expense of the gross perpetuation of the last socially acceptable form of stereotyping, with the message really being, that despite the fact that Po's obese, he's managed to overcome it's obvious limitations and flaws to become a useful and productive member of a team.