I was supposed to review "Secrets of the Furious Five" when "Kung Fu Panda"
came out in November on home video. Yet, I got caught up in other reviews
that I'd forgotten to review this disc as I intended to do. So dear readers,
I apologize for my error and I shall try to fix it.
"Secrets of the Furious Five" is now available on
as a supplimental disc to the feature, "Kung Fu Panda."
As I remarked in my review of the Blu-ray of "KFP
I mentioned how much I enjoyed the opening sequence in that film. I admired
the "traditional" method of telling its story in 2-D. The animation was
remarkable and had a fresh look. My inner wish has been granted because
"Furious Five" takes the traditional animation approach and sets out to tell
a nice tale.
Po (Jack Black) shows little kung fu bunny students the art of using the
martial art for good, rather than destroying someone's face. Though the
short (divided into five segments featuring the "Furious Five") talks down a
bit to children and adults, the charm and story catches you. Running only
24-minutes, the featurette is completely engaging on repeat viewings.
The standout element, at least to my eyes, is the animation. Blending 2-D
with Chinese painting influence gives "Furious Five" a unique look. I liked
how the animators gave the characters depth with the use of shading and
rounded forms. The animation also gives the characters wonderful eye and
facial expressions. I've often found DreamWorks Animation to be a bit cold
and unfeeling, but "Furious Five" has warmth.
The beginning and end of "Furious Five" has Po and Master Shifu in their own
computer animation 3-D environment. It's interesting to see the differences
in computer 3-D and so-called traditional animation here. The 3-D animation
is excellent in the world of "Kung Fu Panda," but I preferred the 2-D look.
Animation is an illusion of life, but traditional animation seems more
realistic and I connect with it more. Perhaps it's the warmth of the
drawings or the texturized look of the animals in "Furious Five," but I
wished that "Kung Fu Panda" took that traditional approach for it's
animation. This would've made an already spectacular film even more so.
Since "Furious Five" is short, so is this review. The movie is delightful,
though a bit childish in how it presents the five segments. Underneath it
all are messages (not too heavy handed) about patience, courage, disipline,
compassion, and confidence.
Photos: © DreamWorks/Paramount. All