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Raman Hui
Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross, Max Koch, Tom Owens, Carol Kane, John Di Maggio
Writing Credits:
Todd Berger, Jed Diffenderfer (story concept), Paul McEvoy

Po's All-New Adventure!

Skadoosh!! It's the world premiere of Po's all-new adventure from the filmmakers that brought you Kung Fu Panda! He may have defeated the ferocious Tai Lung, but our Dragon Warrior (Jack Black) must now face Shifu's (Dustin Hoffman) biggest challenge with the help of Viper, Tigress, Monkey, Crane and Mantis. The Secrets of the Furious Five are finally revealed as we discover it takes a lot more than fast feet and fists to become a kung fu master.

Rated NR

Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 3/24/2009

• “Learn to Draw” Tutorial
• “Dumpling Shuffle” Game
• “Pandamonium Activity Kit” DVD-ROM Features
• “Learn the Panda Dance” Tutorial
• “Do You Kung Fu?” Tutorial
• “Inside the Chinese Zodiac” Interactive Feature
• “Animals of Kung Fu Panda” Featurette
• “What Fighting Style Are You?” Quiz


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Secrets of The Furious Five (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 19, 2009)

In the summer of 2008, Kung Fu Panda scared up a pretty good audience. In fact, it did so well that a big screen sequel seems inevitable. In the meantime, fans will have to make do with a direct-to-video spin-off special called Secrets of the Furious Five.

Already found in the two-disc release of Panda, Secrets offers backstory for the characters found in the flick. In this 24-minute and 34-second program, Po (voiced by Jack Black) teaches a kung fu class made up of young bunnies. They just want to learn how to kick butt, but he tells them they need to learn qualities such as patience and confidence. Po illuminates them via anecdotes about all the members of the Furious Five.

Secrets loses a few points because many of the original actors fail to reappear. Black returns as Po, and we also find Dustin Hoffman, David Cross and Randall Duk Kim in their movie roles. Of the main cast, this means we lose Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen. I suppose the film gets away with the absence of Jolie, Chan and Liu since it includes “young” versions of their characters. I think the original actors still could’ve done those parts, but the absence of Rogen seems more problematic. I suppose he was too busy making one of the other 827 movies he had that came out in 2008.

Cast issues aside, does Secrets entertain? Yeah, it provides a decent diversion. For the shots of Po in the current time, Secrets goes with the same 3D animation in the film, while the flashback anecdotes offer work with the same cel appearance found in the feature film’s prologue. This is a good technique to give the tale a distinctive appearance.

As for the stories themselves, them work fairly well. They’re pretty basic lessons for kids, but they get creative twists much of the time, and they come with some funny bits. Secrets doesn’t dazzle, but it entertains.

The DVD Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+

Secrets of the Furious Five appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Across the board, the transfer looked terrific.

No issues with sharpness ever materialized. At all times, the show looked crisp and concise, without any softness on display. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and the presentation lacked edge haloes. I also witnessed no signs of source flaws throughout the clean image.

Secrets went with a stylized palette that changed with each part of the show. All of these seemed vivid within stylistic constraints; the colors consistently looked well-rendered. Blacks came across as deep and firm, while low-light shots seemed smooth and concise. I found nothing to criticize in this excellent presentation.

Though not as memorable, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Secrets worked fine. The soundfield boasted good stereo music as well as decent use of effects. The forward spectrum dominated, but the surrounds got a lot to do as well. The various speakers melded together in a positive manner to involve us in the material, especially during action scenes.

Audio quality always satisfied. Speech appeared distinctive and crisp, while effects fared nicely as well. Those elements offered good clarity and range. Music was also lively and full. I didn’t think the mix impressed enough for “A”-level consideration, but it seemed more than satisfactory.

The extras split into two subheadings. Under “Po’s Power Play”, we find three elements. Learn to Draw presents step-by-step tutorials to teach you how to sketch Tigress, Mantis, Po, Crane, Monkey and/or Viper. A combination of narration and visuals gives viewers the necessary methods. It’s a fun way for kids to learn some art techniques.

Next comes a game called Dumpling Shuffle. This follows the “Three-Card Monty” routine, as you have to visually track a dumpling hidden under a bowl. It may provide a minor diversion for kids.

To end “Power Play”, we get Pandamonium Activity Kit. This simply lists some DVD-ROM activities that can be accessed in a computer.

Over in “Land of the Panda”, we find five components. Learn the Panda Dance goes for four minutes, 26 seconds as “our girl Hihat” teaches us how to do the steps. Like everything else, it’s meant for kids, and they may like it. I’m more astounded that a woman willingly dubs herself “Hihat”.

Do You Kung Fu? opens with a 43-second intro that tells us what to expect from the program. From there we can learn the fighting poses used by the movie’s six main characters. Kids will probably enjoy this more than “Panda Dance”, especially since “Fu” comes with a disclaimer; it essentially warns kids not to assault others. Yeah, good luck with that, DreamWorks lawyers!

Next we find Inside the Chinese Zodiac. It allows you to look up the animal that ruled your birth year. Year of the Sheep right here, baby! The feature goes back to 1924, which seems like discrimination against many of the octogenarians watching the DVD. And what’s with the inclusion of the years 2009 through 2019 here? Do the DVD’s producers really think fans will be watching this thing in 2030? Anyway, this is a fun little lesson in the Chinese zodiac.

For more info on the film’s influences, we go to Animals of Kung Fu Panda. The six-minute and 15-second featurette provides some basics about how real-life animals influenced the various kung fu fighting styles. Though pretty basic, it gives us a decent look at these background notes.

Finally, What Fighting Style Are You? gives us a quiz to determine which animal best matches you. It runs through a few multiple-choice questions and then tells you your connection. Like the other parts of the DVD, it’s insubstantial but enjoyable.

That same comment applies to Secrets of the Furious Five. Originally released as a bonus program attached to Kung Fu Panda, the show entertains in a moderate way. At no point does it threaten to really impress the viewer, but it offers a nice continuation for Panda fans. The DVD provides insubstantial extras but boasts excellent visuals and very good audio.

I imagine that anyone interested in Secrets probably already bought it as part of the two-pack with Panda. However, if you missed it the first time and now want to check it out, this edition is worthwhile. Panda fans should enjoy it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
2 3:
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