Kung Fu Panda; Dream

Alright folks, in preparation for the awesomeness that is supposed to be Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Hangover Part 2, I watched both of the originals and I’ve come to a devastating conclusion that might just tear apart the universe…if most people didn’t know it to be true already. Kung Fu Panda was WAY better than The Hangover, and for some reason I’m the only one who finds it funny instead of a terrifying implication on our world and those who inhabit it (not to mention those who go around watching and making movies…take THAT Spielberg! Ruin my favourite Franchise by adding E.T. FORSOOTH!), but I digress. Long story short, Kung Fu Pandas 1 and 2 were both far better than The Hangovers 1 and 2, but sadly, this ISN’T the review for either of these movies, mainly because they’ve been out for 3 years and 2 years respectively and they’ve been reviewed to the Nth degree, no THIS is a RANT on Kung Fu Panda, a rant that I’ve been dying to go on about for the longest time. Well no, I watched it twice, once on Friday and once on Saturday, so it’s been 2-3 days, though I find that bit of information to be a tad inconsequential!

I suppose I should make it a point to explain the story of Kung Fu Panda to those who haven’t seen it, or heard of it for that matter. Kung Fu Panda (hereby shortened to KFP) is about a Panda named Po who wants nothing more than to escape the clutches of his father’s noodle shop and become a Kung Fu legend, or fighter…it’s not really explained but the implication is that he wants to do something with his life OTHER than cooking noodles (diced vegetables and meats by the way are the new it thing in the noodle world, sliced is no longer the way to go, I’m just saying). So I suppose Po should be applauded seeing as how he’s got a dream that he wants to see through, the problem being that an anthropomorphic version of China is incredibly pragmatic, seeing dreams as just that dreams and nothing more. So when Po even brings UP the topic of following through, his goose father essentially tells him to put on the apron and start slicing those meats (dicing, sorry, I keep forgetting).

That, however, is the first point I’d like to bring up, the whole dreams and reality juxtaposition; our good friend Po the panda is a PANDA and in case people don’t know, the PANDA is NOT prominent in the Chinese Zodiac (to the extent that Western audiences would be able to challenge that, it’s all very subjective you see, but I digress) so that part of the movie is played up. Po can’t perform Kung Fu. In fact, he can barely get up without destroying the house, and that, incidentally is the point. He has a dream and therefore he should (technically) be able to do what he wants. Though life is very rarely like that, especially reality (which is a TERRIBLE teacher I might add); humans often have dreams and unless they’re extremely lucky, those dreams are rarely fulfilled. That cheerful point is essentially embodied in the character of Po’s father, Ping, who points out that while he DID have a dream during his youth (he wanted to tackle tofu folks, all he wanted was the TOFU) , he learned to face reality and, more importantly, to face his place in life. Another WONDERFULLY cheerful life lesson taught to us by our friends at Dreamworks.

So suffice it to say, Po is distraught and he’s sent back to the kitchen and the dining room to serve the customers until, and this part I love, a MIRACLE happens and the dragon warrior is to be found. This is all fine and dandy and a bunch of visual gags are queued up for the audience to view right before Po crashes into the arena and is hand picked (by the wise turtle grandmaster Oogway, who is my FAVOURITE kung fu master EVER by the way) to become the dragon warrior, which pretty much means he gets to defend the land and be one with the universe. It’s all very technical really, but I digress.

Oogway brings us back to another point in that he’s a helpful reminded that all it takes is a little luck, well that and the ability to be in the right place and the right time to impress just the right people. Sadly however, this is a fact that is often ignored (especially by me, don’t even get me started on that one) and for some reason everyone’s got it in their mind that if they’re smart enough or fast enough, good enough at writing or good enough at acting or even good enough at stacking cups that the universe owes them some sort of favour and they’re immediately worth hiring or investing money into. The sad truth is, people get lucky by meeting the right people and by being present when they’re needed. Frankly, that’s how I think stacking cups became a sport, I mean SERIOUSLY people, those commercials aren’t joking, there IS a Cup Stacking League, they’ve got INVESTORS, they actually MAKE a significant amount of money! I mean sure, it’s no hockey or tennis but still!

Where was I? Oh right, yeah, right time right place, well THAT right time and place is Oogway, the wise turtle master who picked Po after he falls down from the sky in a “ball of fire.” And the best part? Oogway claims that it WASN’T an accident; I mean SURE, he’s probably covering his bases, you know, so all of China doesn’t think he’s insane (which he probably ISN’T) for picking a panda as the legendary dragon master (the universe does that, go figure right?), AT FIRST. Afterward, however, he’s all FOR Po being the dragon master, and that moves us forward once again! All it takes is a little help people. Yes, you COULD work at it alone and get nowhere (or who knows, you might get somewhere, but you’ll still need SOME sort of help) or you could find someone who’s actually willing to support you and help you. I don’t mean a spouse or something like that, and I don’t even mean a friend. I mean someone who will try to help you when you ask for help and someone who can guide you. Now PLEASE don’t go around asking random people, because you probably already have this person, just PLEASE for the love of the universe, don’t mess it up with them!

Oogway, however, also brings up another FANTASTIC conflict: hardwork vs. nepotism. Let’s review shall we? Po took away the honour of being the dragon warrior from the FIVE most POWERFUL and WISE masters of kung fu in all of CHINA. Not just the valley, but the entire COUNTRY, so clearly he didn’t just get lucky, he won the jackpot, and THAT is BEYOND astronomical. Though the one thing he keeps riding on, despite the fact that he DEFINITELY shouldn’t be there is the fact that he was chosen as the dragon warrior. Nepotism people! He gets special treatment and gets to stay with the legends NOT because of his hardwork and abilities (not to mention his determination) but because of plan nepotism. He is Oogway’s chosen one and therefore he deserves to stay, but not without insult of course, because what ELSE would you do to a giant panda?

Mind you, that wasn’t entirely fair because he actually DOES try really hard to get better and in the end he does make up for it. And finally we get to my second favourite part of this long piece of text (because that’s what it’s become. It’s no longer a rant so much as a bunch of paragraphs strung together regarding my thoughts, boohoo), the fact that even AFTER everything Shifu tries to teach him (Shifu’s a little red panda, good times), he STILL is TERRIBLE. Which is why after consulting with the great turtle master, it turns out all it really takes is the right motivation to get the panda going, this time being food. An awesome montage ensues, Po learns kung fu and becomes the true dragon master, he beats the evil snow leopard and everyone gets to survive the possible destruction of the valley at the hands of Ian McShane (Tai Lung).

Alright individuals, let’s review shall we? Po’s got a dream. Except he doesn’t have the means to fulfill his dream so he gets lucky (remember that) and somehow he acquires someone who believes in him and someone who can guide him. What have we learned from all of this? Well it’s QUITE SIMPLE really! So I’m going to break it down for you all Bob-O style: Nothing worth having in this world comes easy, and whether you’re a giant panda who wants to learn kung fu or an aspiring graphic designer finding out that everything ISN’T working out the way it should be you’re going to have to work to get to what you want. You also need a little bit of luck and something to guide (notice how I used the word something and not someone) you, and YES. Life is REALLY difficult, especially REAL life and things get hard and things blow up in your face (please stop snickering…-snicker-) but the fact of the matter is that if you already have something you want, you already know how hard it is to get it, and clearly that isn’t going to stop you, so stand up, you’ve got two strong feet and move forward; and don’t STOP moving forward until you’re exactly where you want to be, whether it’s a shrine in the middle of China, or an art school in the heart of the city.

As always, this has been your Admin (who’s starting a new thing RIGHT now), comment on this article, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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