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"I love kung fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!"
In actuality, it's about as balanced between humor and epic martial arts action as an old-school Jackie Chan film (which makes sense, considering he's Monkey's VA), with way, way prettier art.
Set in a anthropomorphic animal version of ancient China, the story follows Po, a kung fu enthusiast, as he starts as the adopted son of a noodle shop owner and becomes the Dragon Warrior, just by landing in the right place at the right time. His battle for acceptance by the people he's looked up to his whole life leads him on both comic and tragic turns, especially once he finds out what being The Chosen One actually means: fighting Tai Lung, former disciple of Master Shifu and resident Badass, who was so scary that he got his own prison. A prison with a thousand armed, trained guards, carved into a mountain. From which he escapes...using a feather.
Keeping in step with the current kids' movie trends of walking the line between Affectionate Parody and playing it straight, there are some absolutely breathtaking action sequences and some truly, painfully epic failures. All in all, worth a look. And don't mind if the story seems familiar -- it's archetypal and awesome that way. The Chinese certainly thought so; they were so impressed at a film getting their culture's heritage so dead on that they had official conferences about why they can't make animated films like this.
It's also gotten a few TV series on Nickelodeon: Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (with a lot fewer of the original voice actors) and Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, as well as the prime time Christmas Special Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
Kung Fu Panda is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes in the film:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Sword of Heroes. (It's so sharp that you can cut yourself from just looki-OW!)
- Accidental Athlete: Po, who was previously thought to be hopelessly clumsy, inadvertently demonstrates his agility when he climbs up some shelves in order to steal some cookies.
- Acrofatic: Po, after his training.
- Action Film Quiet Drama Scene: Po and Shifu's nighttime argument on the temple steps.
- Action Girl: Tigress and Viper.
- Actor Allusion:
- Ian McShane was last hit by a multi-strike-nerve-attack to the chest by Andy Samberg at the end of Hot Rod.
- Wait a second... Jack Black as a tubby guy with cooking skills and pugilistic aspirations? This is Nacho Libre With Animals! In China!
- Lucy Liu counts here too, she voices Viper, a snake who is proficient in kung fu. Maybe someone took a tip from Quentin Tarantino?
- Many of Black's phrases get snuck into the film, such as "Skadoosh!"
- That one in particular was the Pre-Mortem One-Liner against Tai Lung.
- Adaptation Expansion: The video game contains a number of scenes not present (or at least directly shown) in the movie, including an explanation of how Po learned the Wuxi Finger Hold.
- Affectionate Parody: Of martial arts movies.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Tweaked a bit in that, long before the climax of the film, Po had already gone a long way towards earning the respect of most of the Furious Five, because of his Heroic Resolve facing his hopeless Training From Hell without complaint.
- Also, he's a genuinely nice guy, a good storyteller, and an excellent cook.
- All That Glitters: The secret of the Dragon Scroll -- it's revealed to be blank, and Po ultimately realizes what this means. The scroll's shiny surface is just a mirror -- all it shows is the image of the person looking at it, because the power and skill is within them, not the scroll.
- All There in the Manual: The Art of Kung Fu Panda. Buy it, read it, and be amazed. (Note that it's out of print.)
- The backstories of the Furious Five are never explained in either movies. You'd have to see the DVD-only animated short to find out how they became masters.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses "Your Seed" as the theme song.
- Animal Stereotypes: Played straight in some cases, subverted for all they're worth in others. Notably, Viper is the nicest member of the Furious Five.
- Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Tai Lung. Also, Tigress; there are plenty of parallels between her and Tai Lung, which is why Shifu is so harsh towards her.
- Art Shift: See Fake-Out Opening below.
- Artistic Age: Type 2; Given that these are animals, it's hard to determine anyone's specific age. According to Secrets of the Furious Five and the sequel, Tigress and Crane are mentioned to at least be in their 30's or 40's, so it's safe to assume that other members of the Five and Po are about the same.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Oogway. Also possibly Tai Lung.
- Ascended Fanboy: The central plot device.
- Asskicking Pose: All over the place, but a subtle, easy to miss example gives you an early glimpse of how Tigress will act towards Po. After he crashlands in the Jade Palace, the POV shot from Po shows the Furious Five all looking at him with looks that are a mix of confusion and concern...except for Tigress, who looks like she's about to coldcock him.
- Ass Kicks You: When Tai Lung and Po finally meet, Tai Lung mocks him in precisely this manner. "What are you going to do, big guy? Sit on me?" This is exactly what happens when the two are tumbling down the long stairs from the temple.
- Badass: So very, very many, but Tai Lung takes the cake and then robs the whole damn bakery.
- Badass Boast: Also qualifying as an Insult Backfire is Po's "I'm not a big fat panda ... I'm THE Big Fat Panda!"
- Badass Crew: The Furious Five, natch. The bridge fight with Tai Lung until the end just shows how well-earned their title as the top kung fu masters of China are.
- Badass Grandpa: Anyone who can name a more whoop-ass ancient turtle than Oogway may raise their hand. Seeing how Shifu also kicks a fair amount of ass despite his age, he qualifies too.
- Bait and Switch: Referenced in Po's quote at the top of this page: what looks to be a moment of awesomeness instead falls flat, literally... Only to be Doubly Subverted when, just as he's about to get up and go home, the firecrackers have a delayed ignition.
- Battle Cry: Po: "GET READY TO FEEL THE THUNDER!!"
- Because Destiny Says So: The reason how Shifu justifies that he finally decided to train Po. Of course, reality is quite different, given he wasn't so receptive in the beginning.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Played with. Both films contain some sort of prophecy that comes true, but it only comes true specifically because people go out of their way to stop them from doing so, Shifu by having Zheng send message to Chorh-Gom Prison and causing a feather of his to provide Tai Long a lockpick, and Shen by attempting to wipe out the pandas thereby causing Po's parents to send him off to Mr. Ping where he would eventually be trained by Shifu. Thus, destiny is implied to have come about specifically because people tried to defy it. This is noted by Oogway, who mutters "one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it" when Shifu sends Zheng off.
- Be Yourself: Quite possibly the most effective presentation of the moral in recent media. Instead of going the tried-and-true route of "You're perfect just the way you are!", the movie instead opts to acknowledge that while you should always strive for self-improvement, there are no shortcuts to greatness. Being the best you can be is hard work, but it pays off in the end.
- Big Damn Heroes: Po's arrival just when Tai Lung is about to kill Shifu. Simultaneously played straight and slightly parodied (he arrives just in time...but is exhausted from running up the many stairs to the Jade Palace.)
- Big Eater: Po, of course. But Shifu is not far behind. During Po's training montage, you see him pack away quite a large amount of food in only a few seconds.
- Bilingual Bonus: See Department of Redundancy Department below. Also, every ideogram which appears.
- Oogway is Chinese for "turtle".
- Black Dude Dies First: In both this movie and the sequel, the bad guy proves his mettle by killing at least one black rhino in his first scene.
- Blank Book: The Dragon Scroll.
- British Accents: Done as quite an awesome reveal. Tai Lung has been talked up as a legendary One-Leopard Army throughout the movie so far, with his very own Tailor-Made Prison, and the scene where he escapes from said prison is spectacularly violent and ingenious. Once outside, he grabs the goose messenger, smiles, opens his mouth... and out comes the smooth, cultured rumble of Ian McShane. Compare this to some dubs, where he has a deep, almost Darth Vader like voice.
- Bullet Time: Played straight as often as it is parodied.
- Butt Monkey: Po, for most of the movie. He kinda sorta gives the "Butt Monkey Ball" to Tai Lung near the end of the film.
- Call to Adventure: Hilariously played with. Po jumps at the call, then stays on even as everyone mocks him, then runs screaming from the call, saying he isn't the Dragon Warrior, when he realizes that he'll have to go up against Tai Lung.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Tai Lung gives Shifu one, basically saying "My life sucks and it's all your fault." Shifu apologizes for his mistakes he made raising Tai Lung. Tai Lung declares that he doesn't give a damn and proceeds to strangle his former master, claws raised.
- Captain Obvious: Tai Lung fills this role quite nicely when he meets Po.
Tai Lung: He's a Panda! You're a Panda!
- Carnivore Confusion: About the only foods shown in the movie are noodles, soup, and dumplings -- even Tigress is shown eating tofu. The subject of meat (felines are actually obligate carnivores) never comes up.
- According to the Word of God, all the animals are vegetarians. Think about it, if they eat the other animals, then they are regarded as cannibals/murderers.
- Cats Are Mean: The main villain is Tai Lung, a snow leopard, and Tigress is the rudest of the Furious Five towards Po until she chills out. Many of the villains in the opening that are not reptiles or wolves are panther-like felines.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: For weaker martial artists. Stronger ones do things, like glowing with inner energy as they shatter stones several times their size.
- Most notably in Mantis, who is by far the smallest warrior, but also has the greatest raw strength.
- Chef of Iron: Once Po is trained, he's a Type 1.
- Chekhov's Armoury: As the tortoise said, "There are no accidents."
- Chekhov's Gun: During the acupuncture scene, Mantis points out that he can't do the procedure correctly because Po's ... fur (Po calls him out on it) keeps getting in the way. At the final battle, the exact same thing happens when Tai Lung tries to utilize a Pressure Point attack against Po, and it doesn't work.
- This also carries over to the second film; Ping mentions that Po lost weight, and lo and behold, he seems a little less Made of Iron. And the Soothsayer's acupuncture after he's nearly killed seems to work just fine.
- The Chessmaster: It's subtle, but it is indicated that Oogway not only knew that Tai Lung would escape, but that Shifu's messenger's feather would be how he did it, making Oogway this trope. It's ambiguous though if he actually knew that it would turn out well or if he just had faith -- considering his attitude ("there are no accidents" vs "you must believe"), either is possible.
- Chewing the Scenery:
Tai Lung: Our battle will be legendary!'
- Chilly Reception: Oogway's selection of Po was not initially accepted by any of the other masters and they made no secret of their disdain (Tigress especially), but Po warms up the atmosphere in due time.
- The Chooser of the One: Master Oogway.
- The Chosen One: The Dragon Warrior is the mystical kung fu master who will bring peace to the valley (and to Shifu as well, as it turns out).
- Color Motif: Word of God says the color gold was used to symbolize heroism in the film (see: Po's training sequence). Tai Lung's eyes are gold--because in his eyes, he is the hero of the story. Word of God also says that green represents wisdom (the reason why Po's eyes are green: he has the capacity for great wisdom; in the sequel, this is probably why Shifu's wardrobe now incorporates green) and red symbolizes power (made even more prominent in the sequel, with red representing Lord Shen as blue represented Tai Lung).
- Combat Pragmatist: Po, using anything he could in the final battle.
- Creative Closing Credits: Done in the same fashion than the opening sequence. First it's the animated cast, then pictures depicting slices of their lives after the end of the movie. Some are quite heartwarming.
- Cue the Sun: As the morning sun comes up, Shifu discovers the solution of how to train Po. It's also dawn when Po shows up to face Tai Lung and defeat him.
- Cynical Mentor: Shifu after Tai Lung's turn to evil, particularly towards Po in the beginning.
- Darkest Hour: It is no coincidence that Po and Shifu's argument, where the Giant Panda reveals his profound self-loathing and the Red Panda is at a complete loss as to how to help him occurs at night, with the lowest possible lighting for the nighttime scene.
- Deadly Dodging
- Deadly Fireworks Display: The Wuxi Finger Hold. Subverted in that it's never actually explained if the finger hold killed Tai Lung.
- Implied in the holiday special. Po specifically refers to Tai Lung as being dead, but only in the context of thinking he was dead. Apparently the people at Dream Works like yanking the fans' chains.
- Considering that the holiday special implies that entire segment was a dream being had by Po's father, it's possible that Tai Lung is indeed still alive, but since he's nowhere to be seen when everyone comes back to the valley, everyone but Po still believes him dead. Including Mr. Ping.
- Implied in the holiday special. Po specifically refers to Tai Lung as being dead, but only in the context of thinking he was dead. Apparently the people at Dream Works like yanking the fans' chains.
- Death Course: The training dojo includes a wide variety of deadly obstacles that the Furious Five use for their daily training.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Tigress, mostly due to Shifu's being a Cynical Mentor after Tai Lung turned evil, at the very end of the movie and during the ending credits.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
- "Legend tells of a legendary warrior... whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend..."
- Also, Master Shifu. "Shifu" (shīfu) means "master" in Chinese (if you pronounce it correctly, which nobody in the movie does), so this is like calling him "Master Master".
- According to Word of God, the same applies to the prison of "Chorh-Gom". So Tai Lung is imprisoned in the prison of Prison.
- Determinator: Po, who refuses to give up no matter how badly he's beaten to a pulp. And Tai Lung, who hasn't given up on claiming the Dragon Scroll after twenty years of imprisonment.
- Deus Exit Machina: Really, the only reason Master Oogway dies is so he can't use his awesome nerve attack to KO Tai Lung in five seconds. Word of God gives an alternate explanation: Shifu won't successfully train the Dragon warrior as long as he keeps relying on Oogway.
- Died Happily Ever After: Played straight with Master Oogway. Parodied at the end with Master Shifu.
- Disability Immunity: Po is so chubby that Tai Lung's pressure-point attacks don't work on him.
- Disney Villain Death: Both subverted and averted at different points.
- Distant Reaction Shot
- A Dog Named "Dog": The Furious Five are only ever called Tigress, Viper, Crane, Mantis, and Monkey.
- Although, given that Shifu tends to call Po "Panda", they might actually have names...
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!
- Door Step Baby: Tai Lung.
- Dragons Up the Yin-Yang: The Dragon Scroll, which is held in the jaws of a giant dragon statue. The taijitu also appears as a The Pool of Sacred Tears, as well as the symbol on the back of Oogway's cloak.
- Dramatic Thunder: The messenger's flight to Tai-Lung's prison, and his flight back from it. And again during the fight between Tai Lung and Shifu. It was awfully stormy in ancient China.
- Dreamworks Face: Look at the poster.
- Dreaming of Things to Come
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Oogway.
- Eccentric Mentor: Oogway.
- Efficient Displacement: When Tai Lung crashes to Earth, he leaves a hole not just with an impression of his body, but his tail as well.
- Elephant in The Room: Po's father is a goose, but it's never even acknowledged by any of the characters in the first film. It's subtly referenced at a scene near the end where his father tells him there's "something he should know", though it turns out he's just telling him the secret ingredient of his secret ingredient soup. It is a plot point in the sequel, though.
- Empathic Environment: When Shifu fights Tai Lung, it's dark and stormy. The moment Po arrives on the scene, the world is suddenly bathed in warm sunlight and there's not a cloud in the sky.
- Epic Fail: Po's first attempt at training with Shifu.
Shifu: "There is now a level zero."
- Et Tu, Brute?: Tai Lung feels this way when Shifu doesn't speak up after Oogway refuses to give him the dragon scroll.
- Eureka Moment
- When Shifu discover's just what kind of feats Po can achieve in his pursuit of food, he finally realizes how to train him in kung fu.
- The Secret Ingredient of Po's father's "Secret Ingredient Soup" causes Po to realize the significance and true meaning of the Dragon Scroll: there is no secret ingredient to make something, or someone, special.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting
- The song itself even plays during the end credits, but altered with wholesome lyrics to match with the uplifting theme of the film.
- Everythings Better With Bunnies: Many rabbits appear as civilians in the crowds of both movies, and a group of young bunnies make up Po's kung fu class in Secrets of the Furious Five.
- Messy Pig: Ditto.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Inverted. Po is a giant softie and thinks he'd make an incompetent fighter because he's a panda.
- Justified, in that Tai Lung's first response to finding out a panda is the Dragon Warrior is to mock him. Apparently, the idea is commonplace in this world.
- Evil Brit: Tai Lung.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Tai Lung is totally unable to understand the Dragon Scroll's wisdom.
- Evil Counterpart: Tai Lung functions as this to both Po and Tigress.
- Expy: Tai Lung very much resembles Shan-Yu from Mulan in build, voice, attitude, and even eye color. Shan Yu could be the inspiration for Tai Lung, or the snow leopard could be a stealthy Shout-Out to the earlier animated Chinese epic.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- For those of us who know Mandarin Chinese (as opposed to other dialects), some of the names are also this Trope. Oogway, if pronounced the right way, means "turtle". Shifu means "master" and is generally used in the context of the master training a student. This also doubles up as a slight redundancy when Po calls Shifu "Master Shifu" or "Master master". Unfortunately does not apply to Po or Tai Lung, as the variation in how those names might be intoned make it impossible to confirm which particular Mandarin word they are referring to. Interestingly, Tai Lung could be translated to "Great Dragon", which led to some Wild Mass Guessing (eventually Jossed) that he might have ended up being the lieutenant to Shen, the new villain in Kung Fu Panda 2 (Shen's actual Dragon is a wolf).
- Face Heel Turn: Tai Lung, in flashback.
- Fallen Hero: Tai Lung.
- Fake Action Prologue: The opening sequence (see below).
- Fake-Out Opening: The hand-drawn opening sequence and its Buffy-Speak-meets-Totally Radical narrative voiceover are revealed to be part of a dream Po is having: the rest of the film is 3D animation and much more conventionally written.
- Family Business: The noodle shop. Slightly parodied: "...and then you will fulfill your destiny and take over the restaurant: just as I took it over from my father, who took it over from his father, who won it from a friend in a game of mahjong."
- Fate Worse Than Death: By all appearances, Tai Lung hasn't just been imprisoned for decades, but pretty much immobilized (and tormented by the guards when they had the chance) for 20 years. It may have been more humane to just kill him instead.
- Since he has "gotten stronger" since his imprisonment according to Master Shifu, he may actually have been meditating the entire time to focus his Chi.
- Finger-Poke of Doom: Comes in two flavours. The Wuxi fingerhold for Shifu and Po, a paralyzing move for Tai Lung and Oogway.
- Finishing Move: The Wuxi Fingerhold and the Nerve Strike attack.
- First-Name Basis: For most of the movie, Po is called "Panda" by everybody in the Jade Palace. It's an especially big deal when Shifu finally calls him by his name.
- Five-Man Band: The Furious Five.
- Floorboard Failure: Happens to Po as he tries to sneak down a hallway late at night.
- Freudian Excuse: Tai Lung.
- Foe Yay: One-sided from Tai Lung towards Tigress. Don't deny it.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: Why is it Tai Lung forgets the Wuxi Fingerhold and most of his Kung Fu skills against Po? Was he just trying to pull a Fake Weakness and still beat everybody?
- Probably had some conditions that had to be met before it could be used. Warm up time, chi levels, the need to grab a finger EXACTLY the right way while in the correct stance. Could be a lot of things really.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Somewhat. When Po returns to his dad's shop when the village is being evacuated to avoid Tai Lung, watch his reaction as the apron magically appears around his waist after his dad hugs him.
- A better example is during Po and Shifu's chopstick fight. When Shifu takes the first dumpling there's a single frame where he's looking into the camera and smiling like he's posing for a photo.
- Another one when Mantis was trying to give Po an acupuncture treatment. During the shot where Po falls down after making one funny face, Crane and Monkey can be seen, peeking through the door.
- Furry Confusion: The dragon statues, which for some reason are actually all not anthropomorphized.
- Generation Xerox: Mr. Ping wishes for Po to take over his business. However, he's more interested in becoming a kung fu master.
- Genius Ditz: Po
- Gentle Giant: Po, again.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the scene when Tigress performs a split and breaks the plates that Shifu throws as a demonstration of flexibility, just look at Po's reaction. Nerdgasm! Not to mention Po's face when Tigress lands back down. He's staring at her ass. Might be a part of their Ship Tease.
- Then there's the scene right after Po wakes from his Parody Sue Dream Sequence. He tries to get up, but has trouble due to his weight, causing a lot of banging. When Mr. Ping later demands to know what he was doing, Po has to explain, rather uncomfortably, that he was having a strange dream. Does This Remind You of Anything?
- The Gift: Tai Lung, though it's to his detriment. He has a severe ego problem that prevents him from being truly receptive of the Dragon Scroll's wisdom. This is why Oogway refused to make him the Dragon Warrior. His response to this was less than cordial.
- Good Morning, Crono: Done to Po at the beginning of the movie.
- Groin Attack: "Oh-ho-ho! My tenders!"
- Handicapped Badass: Shifu took a Game-Breaking Injury from Tai Lung once, and has needed a cane ever since. Yeah, as much as Yoda does.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Po's dumpling-based training montage is an aversion; the dumplings are used to motivate him, but Shifu still makes Po work his ass off.
- Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Po has a psychological need to gorge on food when he is upset, so part of his training achievements include being able to conquer that urge as he grows spiritually healthier.
- Heroic BSOD: Po suffers this most prominently when he looks inside the dragon scroll to find out it was nothing. Po gets better after he finds out the true meaning with unexpected help from his father.
- Heroic Resolve: As the junior novelization voiced the thoughts of most of the Five seeing Po endure Shifu's hopeless "training," without complaint "He can't be the Dragon Warrior, but he's really tough!"
- His Story Repeats Itself
- Hit Flash: Po gets one when he crashes into the exhibition/ceremony. Later, the Furious Five get one when Tai Lung defeats them on the bridge.
- Hope Spot: Once played straight when the Furious Five seem to have sent Tai Lung to his Disney Villain Death, and the other time, inverted, in that it's Tai Lung who gets one:
Tai Lung: You're bluffing! Shifu didn't teach you that!
- Humiliation Conga: The final duel between Po and Tai Lung consists entirely of Po applying every little thing he's learned in the course of the movie, gaining the edge over Tai Lung every time. That shot of Po's ass covering Tai Lung's head that starts it... that's what a lampshade technically does.
- Not entirely true. Tai Lung and Po are evenly matched until Tai Lung fails to get the wisdom of the Dragon Scroll, even though Tai Lung is obviously focusing on the said scroll rather than his opponent. Po just takes being thrown around as good fun, while Tai Lung is obviously enraged by every setback, due to his overwhelming Pride. It can't be denied, however, that this trope is how Tai Lung views the final battle.
- I Am What I Am: Yet again,"I'm not a big fat panda. I'm THE big fat panda!"
- Idiot Hero: Well, yeah. But of the kind-hearted, unexpectedly competent variety.
- I Gave My Word: Shifu promises Oogway he will train Po, minutes before the former unexpectedly passes away.
- I Have No Son: Shifu towards Tai Lung.
- I Just Want to Be Special: A central theme of the movie.
- Impairment Shot: Po knocks himself unconscious trying to get in to see the Furious Five. We get the Hit Flash, then the eye-shaped blink-blink as he awakens to see Master Oogway pointing at him.
- Improbable Chopsticks Skill: Part of Po's improvised training.
- Incendiary Exponent: Yes, Tai Lung is so Badass he can set his paws on fire and not even get burned!
- Incompletely Trained: Po and Tai Lung both, for different reasons.
- Ineffectual Loner: Defied. Tigress decides on her own to face and defeat Tai Lung. But before she leaves the town, the four other Furious show up and say they'll go with her, rather than trying to dissuade her from it.
- Insult Backfire: Tai Lung growls after being thrashed by Po, "You can't defeat me! You're just a big... fat... panda!" Po retorts, "I'm not a big, fat panda. I'm THE big, fat panda!"
- Interspecies Adoption: Po's father is a duck. The first movie manages not to bring this up at all, aside from a Bait and Switch in which his dad sits him down to tell him an important secret... the secret ingredient in the soup. The sequel provides some backstory, though.
- Interspecies Romance: Played with in the credits when Viper kisses the Po doll after it's tossed to her. Considering the fact that she was the nicest one to Po during his training, this definitely has some potential.
- Ironic Echo:
Po: *GASP* The Wuxi Finger Hold!
- Repeated at the end by Po against Tai Lung.
- Tai Lung inflicts this upon himself by Tempting Fate: "What are you going to do, big guy? Sit on me?"
- Jerkass: Master Shifu definitely fits this for most of the movie, mistreating his disciples (yes, all of them, just look at his first appearance) and obstinately refusing to trust Oogway's judgment. Also, Tigress towards Po; even when her colleagues have warmed to him, recognizing his undeniable courage and resolve, she remains almost cruelly determined to shoot him down at every opportunity for much of the movie.
- By the film's end, both become Jerks With Hearts Of Gold, with a particular emphasis on "heart of gold."
- Kevlard: Perhaps the true reason Po was chosen was because of this.
- Ki Attacks: Shifu and Tai Lung.
- Killed Off for Real: Played straight with Oogway. Tai Lung, however, has never been truly confirmed whether he died or not. Likewise, Vachir and his rhino guards are also never confirmed if they died or not during Tai Lung's escape, but we do see at least one rhino moving after Tai Lung blows them out the prison's doors with dynamite.
- Land of Dragons: This is set in a version of medieval China, after all...
- Large Ham: Basically all of the narration/dialogue in the intro. It's made on purpose, of course.
- Last Request: Oogway almost begs Shifu to train Po, just before ascending to a higher plane of existence.
- Last Second Chance: The directors' commentary implies that Po's sharing of the Dragon Scroll's true meaning to Tai Lung could have meant his redemption, if he chose to accept it.He doesn't.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Po. And Oogway in flashback.
- Shifu has a minor one when he realizes that he CAN train Po.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Crane rescues Po from his full split.
Po: Oh, hey, thanks.
- Life Imitates Art: Dustin Hoffman (Shifu) tutored Jack Black (Po) on acting during production.
- Lightning Bruiser: Po by the end of the movie.
- Look What I Can Do Now!: Po shows up after attaining enlightenment and beats the crap out of Tai Lung.
- MacGuffin: The Dragon Scroll. It turns out to be a Magic Feather.
- Made of Iron: Po, who can survive a whole mess of stuff, up to and including a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Tai Lung without so much as a broken bone. It's probably all that fur at work. Actually, this seems to apply to the entire cast.
- Magic Feather: The Secret Ingredient of the Secret Ingredient Soup. And the Dragon Scroll again. No, not the feather Tai Lung uses to escape from prison.
- Meaningful Echo:
Oogway/Shifu: "You must continue your journey without me."
- Meaningful Name: Shifu is Chinese for "master." Tai Lung means "great/ultimate dragon".
- Po also means "peace", and that's exactly what he brings to the valley.
- Oogway means "turtle", and he's a turtle.
- Medium Blending: The opening and ending credits are 2D. The second film expands the concept, so several flashbacks and memories are in 2D, and the opening credits seem to be loosely based on Indian shadow puppetry.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Deliciously subverted.
- Meteor Move: Tai Lung actually manages to pull off two of these while still airborne: first he kicks Po to the ground with enough force to create a small crater, then deepens said crater by flipping upside down and driving his fists into his fallen opponent.
- Metronomic Man-Mashing: Po is beaten by Mantis using this style of beatdown .
- Mighty Glacier: Played straight with Po, but averted by Tai Lung.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Epic Kung Fu mastery aside, Master Shifu is tiny. Maybe justified, given he's a red panda (also known as lesser panda). They're smaller than raccoons indeed, approximately the size of a big male cat.
- Missing Mom: Po's adoptive father doesn't seem to be married.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Particularly the bit where an overwhelmingly sad moment from Tigress' backstory is immediately followed up by one of the silliest gags in the film... "Dooooiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnng...!"
- The final battle, taking place right after the incredibly serious battle between Shifu and Tai Lung.
- My Greatest Failure: How Shifu regards his training of Tai Lung.
- My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours
- Never Say "Die": Surprisingly averted for a PG movie.
Po: But Master Shifu, he'll kill you!
- And later: "I'm not dying, you idiot!"
- Never Trust a Trailer: It's an action/comedy, but the trailer puts more emphasis on the "comedy" than the actual movie does.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: One could see it as Shifu allowing Tai Lung to be released, since if not for his paranoia, he wouldn't have sent Zeng to double check his holdings and allowed Tai Lung the feather he needed to escape. However he only did that because Oogway said Tai Lung would escape, therefore it could be considered Oogway's fault. Also counts as Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: During his Training From Hell montage, Po becomes victim to a rapid-fire series of these. Tai Lung also hits him with one, though in every case he's fine afterwards.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Averted. Not only does Viper lack breasts, but Tigress (who is at least is a mammal) lacks them too.
- The Notable Numeral: The Furious Five
- Not So Different: Tai Lung and Po have the hamminess down to pat.
Po: I LOOOOOOOOOVE KUNG-FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!
- Tigress has some key parallels with Tai Lung, as well. Most notably they both wanted to be the Dragon Warrior, and both were denied the privilege.
- The Obi-Wan: Shifu.
- Oblivious Adoption:
- The Un-Reveal: "Dad, sometimes I find it hard to believe I'm your son." "It's time to tell you something I should have long ago - The Secret Ingredient of my Secret Ingredient Soup!"
- Oedipus Complex
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In-universe example also: the tournament to choose the Dragon Warrior is only barely seen by both the audience AND the protagonist.
- Oh Crap:
- Many, many times. It's to be expected, really. Particularly worth noting is Po's highlighted in slow motion "Oh, crap!" when charged by Tai Lung.
- And Tai Lung's expression when Po reveals he knows how to use the Wuxi Finger Hold, followed by an apprehensive cringe.
- Even Oogway has a mild example:
Shifu: Terrible news, master!
- "The scroll has given him power! Noooo!!"
- At the last instants of Tai Lung's escape:
Zeng: Can we run now?!
- Old Master: Masters Shifu and Oogway.
- One-Man Army: Tai Lung.
- Only Six Faces:
- Every unnamed character is either a pig, a rabbit, or a rhino, the last of these only appearing as prison guards. There are also some occasional geese.
- Various species appear mostly as Mooks and other minor characters (wolves, panthers, alligators, boars, at least one buffalo).
- Panda-ing To The Audience: By all accounts it worked.
- The Paralyzer: Tai Lung's nerve strike, which he learned from Oogway.
- Parody Sue: Po's dream as the totally awesome Legendary Warrior.
- Peaceful in Death: Parodied at the end:
Shifu: Wow. It is as Oogway foretold: you are the Dragon Warrior. You have brought peace to this valley. And to me. Thank you. Thank you, Po. Thank you...
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Mantis, who can hold up a rope bridge with Tai Lung AND three of his teammates on it.
- Playing Against Type: Lucy Liu as sweet-natured, kindly Viper.
- Please Wake Up: "I'm not dying, you idiot!"
- Pressure Point: One of Mantis' and Tai Lung's favorite attacks.
- Priceless Ming Vase: Guess who breaks one.
- Pride: Much of the plot originates in this trope.
- Shifu was too proud of Tai Lung. That's why he wasn't able to see the darkness in the latter's heart.
- It's also Tai Lung's Fatal Flaw. He became the best kung fu master ever, and that still wasn't good enough for him because he wasn't chosen as the Dragon Warrior. He only wanted to make Shifu proud of him, but when told that his father had always been proud of him, all he could focus on was the scroll he'd been denied. And after having it explained to him that the scroll did nothing, he still insisted upon attacking Po to gain whatever 'wisdom' it had given him. Because of course, the only way a big, fat panda could ever beat him was with mystical help
- Commander Vachir, who runs Tai Lung's prison. If he had heard Shifu's message and said "Oh, okay. I'll get right on that", nothing would have happened. Instead, Vachir took it as a slight, and decided to imprint the sheer extreme of the prison on the poor goose, and inadvertently gave Tai Lung his magic feather. And that turned out badly.
- Tigress isn't entirely free of this flaw; much of her treatment of Po stems from her pride being wounded over the fact that he was chosen over her. It also partially leads her to seek out and confront Tai Lung herself, a confrontation that she and her friends prove ultimately outmatched for. Ironically, it was also Pride (Tai Lung's) that saved their ass since Tai Lung wanted to rub it in (probably to Shifu) by letting them go defeated but alive to show how Badass he was and how small a threat the Furious Five (the students of Shifu after him) was compared to his awesome self.
- Lord Shen in the second film went out and killed all the pandas just because he heard one would defeat him. This gets him exiled by his parents. He does not take it well.
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Guess who. Here's a hint: Tai Lung.
- Pure Awesomeness: The Trope Namer. Its over-exposure can cause blindness.
- Rage Against the Mentor: Tai Lung on Shifu, and HOW.
- Rain of Arrows: When Tai Lung is escaping prison, the guards use this to try and stop him.
- Redemption Rejection: When Shifu apologizes to Tai Lung, telling him that he had always been proud of him, and that pride was what blinded him to what he was becoming, Tai Lung looks genuinely affected... and then the rage returns to his face and he says that he isn't here for apologies: he just wants the Dragon Scroll. That's when the audience realizes that he is truly beyond redemption. It's definitely a tragic moment.
- Refuge in Cool: Especially with Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny.
- Replacement Goldfish: Tigress feels overshadowed by Tai Lung, and incapable of taking the place he supposedly had in Shifu's heart. As Secrets of the Furious Five reveal, she even was an orphan adopted by Shifu as well, making her Tai Lung's replacement in all aspects. She's wrong at least in the sense that Shifu did a very poor job of expressing his love and approval in time to Tai Lung as well.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: In the intro, about half of the mooks appear to be Chinese alligators. (The other half are either wolves or snow leopards.) Viper isn't bad, though.
- The Resenter: Tai Lung.
- Rhino Rampage: Commander Vachir; averted, however, as we never really get to see Vachir fight or do anything Badass at all. The Anvil of Heaven, at least, does go into battle, but they lose spectacularly.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby Tai Lung and young Tigress. And maybe Po.
- Right Behind Me: "If you train hard, one day you'll have ears as big as mine..."
- Right Makes Might: More like confidence makes might. Those martial artists who have greater belief in themselves win unfailingly and those who lose are first defeated by a sense of their own inferiority/guilt/confusion before the exchange of punches makes their loss official. Perhaps not-coincidentially, this very idea appears in The Art of War.
- Running Gag: Po's difficulty climbing the long stairway to the temple. And falling down it.
- The gag runs. Po, not so much.
- Running on All Fours: Tigress and Tai Lung.
- Saved for the Sequel: It looks like we're going to find out about Po's origins toward the end of the first movie, but then that turns into The Un-Reveal. It's part of the premise of the sequel.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: "Sha-fa-fooie!" and "Ska-doosh."
- Scary Black Man: Michael Clarke Duncan as Vachir. Well, Scary Black Rhino.
- And yet, ironically, he appears to be a white rhino.
- Scenery Porn
- Schmuck Bait: A minor example with the Sword of Heroes, so sharp that you can cut yourself from just looki-OW!
- Secret Ingredient: The "Secret Ingredient Soup" is a subversion: the only actual secret ingredient is its maker's skill.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it."
- Shaped Like Itself: Chor-Ghom essentially means: "the prison of Prison."
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted for the final battle. After Shifu and Tai Lung's dark and serious duel in the rain, the sun rises and Po appears at the top of the steps, panting for air. That's when the real Final Battle begins, demonstrating that a story's climax can be hilarious and awesome at the same time.
- Smug Snake: Inverted. Viper is the only character who is initially friendly to Po; the others spend much of their time mocking him.
- The scene stated in Right Behind Me above is built around a not-at-all-hidden Hidden Mickey.
- The Dragon Scroll (a blank, reflective piece of paper) is almost identical to the Book of Enlightenment in the 1978 film Circle Of Iron (which was co-written by Bruce Lee and James Coburn of all people).
- The Furious Five share their name with one of the earliest hip-hop groups, Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five.
- After Tai Lung discovers that the Dragon Scroll is blank, in the ensuing fight Po stepped on Tai Lung's feet after blocking his attacks. This is a nod to Kung Fu Hustle where Sing stomped on the baddies's feets. A lot.
- Shown Their Work: The producers got ancient China depicted so well that the Chinese themselves had official conferences to explore why they can't make animated films about themselves like this.
- The film featured only species that exists/existed in China. Even the crocodiles, or more precisely Chinese Alligators, and rhinoceros (Javan Rhinoceros. Shifu's a Red Panda. Tai Lung is a Snow Leopard. Tigress is a South China Tiger.)
- Want to know how much work the creators showed? Check this clever little tidbit: the specific style of Kung Fu used by each character, with the specific exceptions of Oogway and Shifu, match their species. Tigress uses Tiger-style Kung Fu, Monkey uses Monkey-style Kung Fu, and so on. Even Po uses Bear-style.
- When Tai Lung berates Shifu, he says he "trained until [his] bones cracked!" This is not an exaggeration; some martial artists hit things until their bones crack, and then the cracks fill up with bone, making them harder overall. This is not recommended for casual practitioners.
- In the second film, Lord Shen is a white peacock with red markings on his feathers. White is the color of death in Asian cultures, "shen" can be read as "flame" in Chinese, and in the Wu Xing red and white are the colors of fire and metal. The filmmakers clearly knew their Chinese philosophy too.
- Ship Tease: Po/Tigress, anyone?
- Apparently the chunk of wood Po tried to pick up as a souvenir, after Tigress's stunt, was named the Love Chunk by some producers. Make of that what you will.
- Sour Supporter: Tigress, until the very end that is.
- Speed Stripes
- Spell My Name with a "The": "I'm THE big fat panda!"
- Start of Darkness: Tai Lung, of course.
- Stepping Stone Sword: Tai Lung, with giant crossbow bolts that he threw at the wall.
- Stepping Stones in the Sky: Tai Lung's prison break.
- Po, seconds before being Meteor Move-d by Tai Lung. Not stones, but flying fragments.
- The Stinger: After a ton of montages showing the characters Character Development, the final shot of the film after the credits is Po and Shifu sharing a quiet moment with some dumplings - and a peach tree beginning to grow where Shifu and Oogway had buried the pit.
- Super Sentai Stance: The Furious Five.
- Super Strength: Much of the cast. Tigress, Mantis, and Tai Lung in particular. Especially Mantis, who can lift Po.
- Supreme Chef: Po when it comes to noodles, at least to the Furious Five (sans Tigress of course, who appears to be eating tofu instead)
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: Inverted in that Po and Shifu fight over a dumpling. but while Po winning it is a good sign of his skill in martial arts, his throwing it back to Shifu is equally encouraging since it's a sign that he has grown in spirit and doesn't need to gorge when he is upset.
- Tailor-Made Prison: Tai Lung's prison was apparently built specifically to hold just him.
- The Tell: "You eat when you're upset."
- Tempting Fate:
Tai Lung: What're you going to do, big guy? Sit on me?
- The Chosen Zero: Let's face it, half this movie is dedicated to whether Po really is the right Chosen One.
- The Other Darrin / The Poor Mans Substitute: In the upcoming series the voices of Po, Master Shifu and the Furious Five have all been replaced by their video game counterparts.
- This Cannot Be!: "You...You CAN'T defeat me!... You're just...a BIG... FAT... panda!".
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Only Po has the ability to defeat Tai Lung.
- Tiger Versus Dragon: Tigress is a tiger. Po is the Dragon Warrior. You do the math.
- Took a Level In Badass: Po, full stop.
- Touch of Death: The Wuxi finger-hold.
- Thanksgiving Balloon: Po became a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon in 2010.
- Training From Hell: "There is now a level zero." Made worse by the fact that Shifu had no intention of seriously training Po and just wanted to discourage him.
- Training Montage: Natch.
- Tree Buchet: One of Po's failed attempts to get into the Jade Palace to watch the tournament.
- Twitchy Eye: Shifu.
- Two Girls to a Team: Tigress and Viper, nicely averting The Smurfette Principle.
- Turtle Power: Oogway.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: A huge part of what makes Tai Lung Unintentionally Sympathetic.
- Useless Useful Spell: The nerve strike completely fails to work against the Dragon Warrior... because Po is too fat for Tai Lung to be able to hit his nerves right, as seen earlier when Mantis tried to do acupuncture on him.
- Villainous Breakdown: Tai Lung's composure really starts to fall apart once he actually sees the Dragon Scroll he so coveted. Instead of fighting intelligently and using environment to his advantage, like he did in every fight before, he single-mindedly pursues the scroll, losing more and more of his cool, as Po starts to give him problems. After he obtains the Dragon Scroll and finds it to be blank, he suffers from this full out, and it just gets more intense after he discovers his pressure point technique to be ineffectual against Po, causing him to throw all semblance of strategy and martial arts mastery out the window, and even after getting beaten and barely able to get up and stumble around, he just keeps rambling and trying to fight back.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Po and Tai Lung.
- Wax On, Wax Off
Shifu: When you focus on kung fu, when you really concentrate... you stink. But perhaps that is my fault. I cannot train you the way I have trained the Five. I now see that the way to get through to you is, with this.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tai Lung and Tigress.
- Wham! Line: "Oogway cannot! Not anymore."
- "It's blank."
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Among other things, Po and Shifu have an epic fight...over a dumpling.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: The Dragon Scroll reflects the visage of whoever gazes into it. Po's first words on seeing his reflection is, "It's blank." Tai Lung's first words are, "It's nothing!"
- What the Fu Are You Doing?
- When You Snatch the Pebble: "You are free to eat."
- Wok Fu: At the end, Tai Lung throws Po into an empty restaurant during the final battle, and as a result the panda throws several woks at the snow leopard, puts the Dragon Scroll under one of them, and swaps them around so that Tai Lung will get the wrong one.
- World of Cardboard Speech: A very short one from Po, at that:
Tai Lung: You...can't defeat me... You're just a big...fat...panda!
- World of Funny Animals
- Worthy Opponent: Tai Lung clearly expects Po to be one of these, and he is very displeased when Po does not seem to meet his expectations.
- Wuxia: An Affectionate Parody.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Shifu at the Pool of Sacred Tears asks Po if he wants to learn kung fu, his response to the panda impassioned "Yes!" says that he knows Po can be trained after all.
- You Are Not Ready: Oogway on Tai Lung receiving the Dragon Scroll, though it's implied Oogway felt Tai Lung would never be ready.
Secrets of the Furious Five contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: All those jokes about Angelina Jolie's penchant for adoption become Harsher in Hindsight with Tigress' origins finally revealed.
- An Aesop: Five, actually; to be a good practitioner of kung fu, one must have patience, courage, confidence, discipline, and compassion.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Po is telling the bunny kids about the fabled strength of Grand Master Viper's venom --
"One touch of his ivory tips could fell fifteen gorilla warriors! ...And a mid-size crocodile."
- Art Shift: 3D animation is used for the present day and 2D animation for the backstories of the Furious Five.
- Cats Are Mean: Averted in the Crane story, where Mei Ling, a female cat, is a true blue friend who is vital in starting his martial arts calling.
- Completely Missing the Point: All the bunny kids in Po's class want to learn about kung fu is the "kicking butt" part; subverted by the end when it turns out they did listen to the message of Po's stories.
- Darkest Hour: More precisely, darkest seconds in Crane's with him giving up his dream of entering the martial arts academy when his application is mocked. It ends the instant he stumbles into the entrance test room and finds the confidence to pass with the very qualities for which he was mocked.
- Defeat by Modesty: Monkey pulled off the belt strings of all the tough guys sent to drive him out, causing them to drop their pants and leave in shame.
- The reason he did this? He was subjected to his pants dropping when he was younger; the best way for people to be humiliated would be how he was.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Oogway and Monkey. That and Oogway saving his life from being crushed by a giant woodan pillar.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Used seriously in the story of Tigress.
- Everythings Better With Bunnies: Although the Valley of Peace does have pig and geese children, all of the students in Po's kung fu class are bunnies.
- Lighter and Softer: It's basically Kung Fu Panda as a typical Aesop-based kids' show.
- Orphanage of Love: Bao Gu, where Tigress was raised.
- Playing Possum: Mantis uses this to trick the crocodile bandits into opening the cage he was trapped in.
- Ship Tease: Between a young Crane and kung-fu ace Mei Ling.
- Shown Their Work: In the sense that the producers make it clear in this short that "kung fu", when it only refers to martial arts, is really a Western misnomer when its true meaning is "Excellence of Self."
- Shout-Out: Mei Ling is also the name of Bruce Lee's informant from Enter the Dragon, the Chinese Action Girl Canon Foreigner from Cardcaptor Sakura, and one of your Voices With An Internet Connection from Metal Gear Solid.
- Also, when Po is addressed by Shifu as "Master Po," that brings to mind Caine's most beloved mentor in the TV series, Kung Fu.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Justified and Subverted. Viper's father initially refuses to teach her their family's Kung Fu because she lacks fangs. Fortunately for him, she taught herself Waif Fu and saved him when his fangs were broken by poison proof armor.
- Unreliable Narrator: Po is telling the stories of the Furious Five to teach his students An Aesop. It's quite likely he simplified the events to make his point.
Kung Fu Panda Holiday contains examples of:
- Art Shift: The first few minutes are an awesome 2D dream sequence and the rest is CGI.
- The Cameo: Tai Lung in Po's dad's dream/nightmare.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Po and the Furious Five bring up the Winter Festival while batttling a horde of bandits.
- Christmas Special: In the story, it's at least the closest Ancient Chinese analogue thereof, the Dong Zhi Winter Festival. The special still gives it all the trappings of Christmas, however.
- Colossus Climb: One of the first moves Wo Hop tries to provoke Po into killing him, but Po eventually picks him off and puts him in a large jar to make him stop.
- Cool Hat: The fancy hats/wigs worn by the Kung Fu masters.
- Disaster Dominoes: At least four separate ones, held together with Old Spice.
- Fancy Dinner: Po has to host one for the all the Kung Fu masters when he'd rather be cooking with his dad. Mind you, Po tried to compromise by trying to get his dad to cook for it.
- Food Porn: Po is tasked to pick the best chef in China, and also do some cooking himself.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The same radish basket that plays an important part in the sequel is not in the first movie, but is present in the Holiday special, in the same location Mr. Ping pulls it out from in the second movie.
- Honor Before Reason: After accidentally being dishonored by Po, Wo Hop the bunny chef tries to kill him in combat and when that doesn't work he keeps trying to kill himself. May or may not be a Shout-Out to The Book Of Bunny Suicides.
- Never Say D--!: Apparently Po and/or his dad thinks that Tai Lung is dead.
- Not to mention that Wo Hop is really insistent on dying to restore his honor.
- Orgasmically Delicious: The noodle shop's holiday specialty, at least in Po's dad's dreams.
- Placebo Eureka Moment: Po mumbles to a guard beside him on how to deal with his conundrum, but then realizes the solution and thanks the guard... even though the guard didn't really do anything.
- Pure Is Not Good: Perfection is nice, but it's also boring and insanely stressful.
- Shown Their Work: The Winter Feast resembles the traditional Chinese festival of Dong Zhi, which holds many parallels to both Thanksgiving and Christmas, such as family gatherings and feasting to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
- Suicide as Comedy: Wo Hop.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Po and Mr. Ping make cooking noodles look absolutely epic.
- You Are Not Alone: The moment when Shifu tries to decline Po's invitation for Mr. Ping's Winter Feast. Shifu says that it is only for Po's family, which Po responds with "You're my family too."