Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thoughts After Watching Kung Fu Panda 2

A rather wordy title! I don't claim to have any expertise in the martial arts, nonetheless these are some things that came to my mind after watching the much publicized sequel.

The film itself was technically wonderful and story-wise not quite as new and deep and fun as the original. I missed seeing the different Kung Fu animal styles or perhaps they were lost in the rush of fighting moves and flashbacks. The part I found most endearing was the set of movements that were passed down from Master to Master, on how to gain Inner Peace. Inner Peace - something not easy to come by for Shifu, the Panda's troubled teacher and for the Panda himself. The moves, made visually very appealing by showing the Kung Fu masters catching and releasing water droplets, reminded me of the Tai Chi form and the film in general brought to mind some of Lao Tzu's teachings. I quote, from Professor Cheng Man Ch'ing's books:

Nothing in the world is more soft and weak than water
But for attacking the hard and strong
Nothing can surpass it.
And therefore nothing can take its place.
That the weak can overcome the strong
And the soft can overcome the hard
Is well known to the world
Yet no one can carry it out...

And the way to this (by following the Three Fearlessnesses while practicing Tai Chi) also reminded me of Po and Shifu's battle with Inner Peace in the film.
(The Three Fearlessnesses are:
The Fearlessness of taking pain
The Fearlessness to suffer loss
The Fearlessness towards ferocity)

These are the reminders I took home from the movie and the parts I most related to. When I returned home, I watched Professor Cheng Man Ch'ing's short Tai Chi form on utube. Devoid of sound, shot in a shaky black and white, it has little superficial resemblance to the scenes from the latest Kung Fu Panda film. However, the essence is there- the amazing rootedness, the controlled yet relaxed movements, the latent strength and ocean of calm is apparent even to someone like me who has not studied these arts.

1 comment:

Sujata Varadarajan said...

Several people have told me that they also missed Biddu and Carl Douglas's awesome song, 'Kung Fu Fighting' (which was a part of the first film) and I totally agree.

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