It was an animation spectacular for the Friday Film Night this time, with Kung Fu Panda and Futurama's third special Bender's Game lined up for viewing.
First to be watched was Dreamworks Animation's Kung Fu Panda, which I saw at the cinema earlier this year. I have been getting in to the habit of delaying DVD purchases until the price has dropped instead of buying them full price on release, realising that waiting a few months to watch a film is far from being any kind of hardship. But after chatting to a friend and being reminded about how fantastic a film Kung Fu Panda is I found that I simply didn't want to wait to experience it again and ended up ordering a copy before release.
Watching Kung Fu Panda again I wasn't disappointed in the least. There are some films that amaze and thrill in a cinema being watched for the first time but lack the depth and imagination necessary to recapture the experience on repeated viewings but this is not one of those films. There is not much I can add beyond my previous review of Kung Fu Panda. This is a glorious film about destiny and belief, hidden beneath the veneer of a children's animation. Don't let the fact that it is an animated film with furry creatures sway you from seeing the film, it could quite easily be a live-action martial arts adventure in the same style as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero. Kung Fu Panda is respectful to the sources of its underlying genre and most of the action has movements and actions as precisely coordinated and practiced as any mystical martial arts film. This is my film of the year by a long margin.
The second film watched was Bender's Game, the third feature-length Futurama animation. Like the two that preceded it, Bender's Game features the whole cast from Futurama on a new adventure and introduces a new character or two. The theme of this episode is Dungeons and Dragons, where Bender tries to join in with a game but is told he lacks imagination. When he develops his imaginative circuits the situation goes somewhat awry and eventually ties in with the other members of the Planet Express crew, who are concerned about escalating fuel costs. Even though a few of the jokes are obvious, forced, or telegraphed, much like the previous two Futurama features, there is plenty to keep fans entertained. Maybe it was because I was so tired, but the episode seemed to be over-long and extended beyond what I thought was going to be a conclusion. Considering it is only ninety minutes in length I will put this feeling down to my lack of sleep.
As is typical for a Friday Film Night a take-away curry was ordered. Even though I had rectified my lack of plates for a previous evening I still hadn't bought any more cutlery. Luckily, the number of people who could attend dwindled enough to prevent my flat from getting too cosy and also ensured that I had enough cutlery for everyone's curry. Despite this, I did not have enough trays for everyone on which to balance their plentiful plates. Not a problem, I thought, my guests can have the trays and I'll grab a thick magazine to help me, but a magazine didn't quite seem sturdy enough to protect me from the threat of curry spillage. In an ostentatious moment I picked up the broken Apple Powerbook I had lying around and used that as my dinner tray instead. It may have been only a take-away curry but I was still eating in style.