Monday, December 8, 2008

Review | Movie | Panda Go Panda

PANDA! GO PANDA! : When her grandmother and primary caregiver
goes out of town, 7-year-old Mimiko lives alone in her small town and gets two
unlikely visitors to her little house: A huge panda and his tiny son. Mimiko
befriends the two and they become Mama, Papa and Son, and have adventures big and small, from circuses to picnics.

One of the only animes I've seen with no objectionable material for young children, Panda! Go Panda! is yet another fantastic creation by the renowned Hayao Miyazaki, known best for his stunning storyboards and hit films which bring in awards like moths to a flame. One of his earliest works is "Panda Kopanda", which is definitely one to bring homes to the kids.

The only thing there is to worry about from Panda! Go Panda! is the lovable Papa Panda's pipe which he later coats with his signature use of "nice" and commenting on how "tobacco is nice, too." He is never, however, shown to be under any influence by it. Papa Panda commonly calls things he enjoys or approves of nice. Children will adore this huge panda and his tiny son, and should get a great treat out of his large, toothy grins, reminiscent of the large rabbit-like tree spirit from Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.

The films is put into two different parts, Panda! Go Panda! Family and Panda! Go Panda! Rainy Day Circus. Rainy Day Circus is the continuation of the first film (not so much a sequel as it is a second half), and in this film we meet a small runaway baby tiger who has fled the circus and is discovered in Baby Panda's bed. The young tiger is immediately befriended with open arms by the family, which because if its inclusion of a gigantic, over-eating panda accidentally scares away two circus staff members who come to Mimiko's house looking for "Tiny the Tiger". This somewhat disappoints Mimiko, who wanted to invite "her first burglars" to join them for dinner.

Mimiko and her animal companions are always smiling, even after heavy rain floods their house and drives them to the second level of Mimiko's house. Papa Panda's only comment on the sheeted rain is the fact that "rain is very good for bamboo." And bamboo is nice!

Panda! Go Panda is a charming and adorable watch that will thrill children, and even adults, looking for a heavy dose of something warm and fuzzy, so don't miss Miyazaki's clever sugar-coated panda family that will leave you shouting "Go Panda!"

Overall Rating:
/ 5


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