“And another time I was assaulting and battery-ing this tea shop ’cause that’s how I roll.”
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Good Croc, Bad Croc brings together seven Season One episodes of the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness kids’ show based on the theatrical series Kung Fu Panda.
Taking over from Jack Black (Tropic Thunder) as the voice of Po is Mick Wingert (Jonah Hex: Motion Comics) who provides quite a convincing aping of Black’s scatting bear. The writing of these episodes is a bit more heavy handed in terms of their presentations as mini morality plays, but that’s typical of kids’ shows when compared to the latitude of a feature film. However there’s a nice balance of humor, though some of it is clearly aimed at adults (How many kids recognize a Christopher Walken impression?), and the stories are quickly paced and action-filled, which is what will keep little ones entertained.
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Good Croc, Bad Croc is a no-brainer if you’ve got not only the target audience in your home but they’re already fans of the dumpling-gobbling Dragon Warrior. The episodes included are listed below:
* “Good Croc, Bad Croc” — Po gives his word to help out one of the Croc Bandits but he soon regrets it.
* “The Princess and the Po” — When Po, Tigress (Kari Wahlgren, Phineas and Ferb), and Mantis (Max Koch, Anytime with Bob Kushell) are assigned the task of guarding a spoiled princess Po bets she will easily become his friend.
* “Chain Reaction” — Po and Tigress are on a mission which sees the duo chained together.
* “Bad Po” — When Po looks into a mystical mirror he’s split in two, one good panda and one bad.
* “Jailhouse Panda” — In order to prove he has cunning, Po goes undercover in a prison to extract information.
* “Father Crime” — Shifu (Fred Tatasciore, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) is dismayed when his long-absent father returns.
* “Po Fans Out” — Po learns he has a fan club but struggles with their expectations.
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness is an engaging show. With humor for both kids and adults (and some nudges especially to grownups watching along), it offers life lessons through a fallible hero kids can relate to. The fighting sequences are a step above typical cartoon violence, and are actually choreographed so they’re laced with more realism than you usually get. It’s a show you can feel all right letting the kids watch.
The 1.78:1 video stream betrays a disparity I think the intended audience will ignore, and that is a lack of dimension concerning backgrounds. There’s a lack of unity within the video stream which arises from a rushed production schedule. Often the rich saturation and careful detailing of the characters is too sharp a contrast to the flat, pale, and desaturated backgrounds, making it appear as if the stories are merely taking place in front of a cartoon version of a matte painting. It’s especially drawn (ha!) in stark relief during the flashback sequences when the animation briefly adopts a deeply saturated highly stylized look. The audio stream is a generous Dolby Digital 5.1 which helps balance out the video stream’s inconsistency by fully encompassing the audio space and ringing clearly with sound effects.
There are no special features, a strike against the set for sure.
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Good Croc, Bad Croc is another “special pack” release, carrying on one of the more annoying trends in children’s television. I say wait to purchase until there are more episodes per set. Until then, stream away. The humor is deftly placed, and the action will keep young ones glued to the tube.