Whether you’re a wannabe cowboy, a kung fu fan, or simply an animated-movie lover, you gonna love these two movies. So, read out! By the way, this is the first part of my notes on this year’s Sydney Film Festival, which was officially ended last weekend.
Here’s a huge picture on a building’s wall in Belgium that is dedicated to Lucky Luke (taken from this website).
It’s been a very long time for me since the last time I enjoyed this cowboy’s story. And yes, it’s one of those movies from comic books, so I’ve only known Lucky Luke previously from some of the printed animated-stories.
This movie is officially titled Go West: A Lucky Luke Adventure, or Tous à l’Ouest: Une aventure de Lucky Luke (as the movie is in French). It is said that this is just one of a few official animation widescreen movies from the Lucky Luke comic series, while the last one was released many years ago.
Of course (at least for me), the movie is really interesting and very enjoyable. There are almost all the main characters of the story in this movie, including Lucky Luke, the charming cool cowboy who’s (who shoots) “quicker than his own shadow”, the smart horse Jolly Jumper, the dumb dog Rantanplan, and the eternal “enemies” of Lucky Luke, the Dalton brothers (Joe, Jack, William, and Averell).
This time, the story is about Lucky Luke’s journey to the West side of the USA, with a group of promised-new-land owners. And because it’s involving some other people, there are a lot of other characters of course in the story. For example, there’s this bad guy, the land seller Mr Crook with his assistant, the group’s old-guy who believes in “think positive”, a young female school teacher with her students, a big guy with bad language, a funeral company man, a couple of Chinese cook-men, entertainer girls, and so on.
Rather than just a peaceful journey, it’s a “colourful” one since the Daltons are there too, “stuck” in the group, while Mr Crook is also following and constantly trying to “sabotage” the trip. There are a few more scenes outside of the trip, which is when Lucky Luke and the Daltons still having their “usual business” in the modern New York, the starting point of the trip on the East part of America, and a bit further scenes when they arrived on the dream land in the “old and empty” California on the West.
An alternate poster of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda.
As one of the most anticipated animation movies this year, Kung Fu Panda is truly interesting and funny. But of course it’s funny, considering Jack Black who plays Po, the panda character. And for me, this is also just another East-meet-West movie.
The Chinese martial arts, kung fu, and the panda character – along with the other characters – are obviously in an Eastern world setting, while the maker of this movie (Dreamworks) is definitely one of the Western icons. Or, it isn’t? Well, I’d consider another thing then: the name of Master Shifu, which if referring to the term of a martial arts’ master is supposed to be written as “shefu”, but can be pronounced easier in English as “shi-fu” (?).
Anyway, hey, cut it out – and don’t get too serious! What I should just say is that this is the first movie I saw in Sydney’s cinemas that was in full capacity – and with a lot of laughs. Firstly screened during the first week of Sydney’s Film Festival, the wannabe-kung fu-hero noodle-maker-panda movie had already listed “fully-booked” several days before. So yes, I didn’t get the chance to watch it at the first time. Not even when they added another screening session for it during the festival. But then I was still lucky, as a member of Greater Union’s Cinebuzz club, when within days later there was another special screening.
Nothing much to say more about the movie itself, as there are already heaps of review everywhere, but I especially like the panda character and of course some others who appear with him. And at least, there are two famous Asian actors play as major characters: Lucy Liu (as Viper the snake warrior) and Jackie Chan (as Monkey). There are also this Po’s father character, Mr Ping, played by James Hong, and of course Grand Master Oogway (by Randall Duk Kim), a wise old tortoise (turtle) who has quotes such as “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present”; and believes in expressions like “nothing is impossible” and “there’s nothing such as accident”.
Now, in general, the festival itself of course didn’t only have these two movies in the animation category, but there were more. There were few strands that had it, including Kids’ Films, Short Cuts and others. An interesting black-and-white animation movie, Persepolis, was even became the main menu of the closing night gala. Then there’s this Yoram Gross Animation Award in the Australian short films’ Dendy Awards section, and also a three-part Machinima Festival Showcase program.