Movie Reviews: Kung Fu Panda and Get Smart

It had been a long time since I’d gone to see a movie in a movie theatre, so long that the Camera Cinemas discount card (10 movies for $50) I still had had been phased out for a new one (10 movies for $60). But this month, I got back into the habit of seeing summer movies with my children. In 2005, we had one such summer, when I saw every G and PG movie that was released (all 5 of them!) We didn’t do it again, mostly because Neil isn’t so much of a movie person, and it was cheaper to spend a day in Golden Gate Park or at the beach.

But, as we all know, this year travelling anywhere is a lot more costly, and I’m personally on kind of a gas strike. Furthermore, Peter’s offices are now right downtown, three blocks away from a Camera Cinema, and Camera Cinemas is still doing its “Diaper Days” movies for young families.

On the 18th, we took advantage of the Diaper Days event to see Kung Fu Panda. It pretty much had the typical “believe in yourself” storyline, but it was a lot of fun. In particular, it had a funny, cute and unforgettable dumpling chase; a few clever twists; and a nice soundtrack. Kelly’s been doing Kung Fu Panda kung fu moves ever since, so I know it delighted her.

When I found out Kelly could still get into the movies without a ticket aside from Diaper Days, we had a special treat and all of us saw Get Smart together. I was somewhat nervous about it because it has a PG-13 rating, but Neil loved The Pink Panther with Steve Martin, and the preview for Get Smart, with another bumbling-but-clever hero had him interested in the movie.

Reviewers had put the movie down for not being true to the TV series, for which I have to quote Peter: “Are all movie reviewers crotchety 60-year-olds?” I think I’ve only seen two or three episodes of the TV show, and that only in daytime TV re-runs. It struck me as kind of dorky and not very funny then, but I didn’t know whether this new movie would be better or worse.

The movie turned out to be great. It made a brief nod to the old TV series, most notably when Maxwell Smart switches into the old suit and tries to make a getaway in the classic car (which promptly runs out of gas.) It was smart, funny, and clever and it turns a few cliches on the head: for instance, the geeks get their revenge, a fat girl triumphs over some stuck-up socialite girls, and the bad guy’s lackey gives the bad guy his comeuppance. It was a wonderful movie to watch together as a family, though Kelly cringed (and I helped her hide her eyes) during some action sequences with fighting. It was absolutely better than the TV series, which is dear only to wrinkly newspaper writers.

The Tech has also changed its admission prices so that seeing the museum now also includes admission to an IMAX movie. So I think, like 2005, this may once again be a summer of movies for our family.

1 Comment

  1. movei buff

    still gotta see Kung Fu Panda… Jack Black is classic for sure; he’ll be forever famous for his work in School of Rock


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