EPS (justeps) wrote,

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An entertaining Sunday afternoon

I saw the San Francisco Mime Troupe perform Red State in Yerba Buena Gardens this afternoon. This hour-long show is surprisingly gentle in its political commentary, though quite merciless in its jabs at CNN. There are a few good musical numbers (and one truly outstanding one), but nothing about Red State is particularly memorable. That doesn't mean I'm panning it, just that its strength lies not with the script, but in the presentation thereof. Six actors portray multiple characters (with accompanying costume changes), moving as gracefully as ballerinas, as the set and its props glide fluidly from scene to scene. The entertainment value is much the same as a stage magician's: the patter's part of the act, but the illusions are the real stars.

Afterward, I went inside the Metreon to see Kung Fu Panda on the IMAX screen. I hadn't been particularly impressed by the trailers, but I assure you they didn't give away the best scenes.

Po the panda is a big, fat slob who idolizes Kung Fu masters and dreams of becoming one himself. Unfortunately, his destiny is to work in his father's restaurant, and eventually take over the family business. When word arrives that a champion will be chosen to battle The Big Bad, Po is eager to witness the once-in-a-millenium ceremony. Much to the surprise of the other residents of the Jade Palace, Yoda Master Oogway, selects him. It's then Obi-Wan Shifu's job to turn someone uncoordinated, who can't even get up the steps without wheezing, into the Jedi Dragon Warrior, who will be hailed as a hero for securing peace for the Chinese analog of Shrek-land, despite leaving a phenomenal trail of destruction in his wake. Fortunately, he doesn't quit his day job, and almost everyone lives happily ever after.

OK, the story's familiar, and Jack Black can be a bit grating at times. But the screenplay is surprisingly good, Jack Black isn't that over the top (most of the time), and Randall Duk Kim and Angelina Jolie are both excellent in their supporting roles. Plus, the animation's superb.

Tags: movies

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