Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kung Fu Bla Bla

Animated movies usually have some sort of message. Characters that grow and learn things make for more of a compelling story. Sometimes, though, the “message” presented to kids is pure hogwash. Take as an example this year’s “Kung Fu Panda.” It is a funny and visually entertaining comedy staring the voice of Jack Black as a Panda who is a huge fan of Kung Fu. As fate would have it (or chance, or accidental circumstances, or an old man’s senility, or whatever) he is chosen to be the hero of the land in spite of the fact that he knows no Kung Fu whatsoever. In the end it turns out he is indeed the hero because the movie reveals that the hero has a secret ingredient. We find this out in a scene between Po and his father as they discuss his famous soup:

The secret ingredient is... nothing!
You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient.
Wait, wait... it's just plain old noodle soup? You don't add some kind of special sauce or something?
Don't have to. To make something special you just have to believe it's special.
There is no secret ingredient...

So, the message of “Kung Fu Panda” is simply that belief makes things special. There is no real “specialness,” just the sincere belief that something is special makes it so. Actually, this is a perfect example of postmodern spirituality. Faith is all that matters, not what your faith is placed in, just that you have a sincere faith. In fact, faith in nothing is perfect. That way you don’t get too dogmatic about anything.

Go ahead and enjoy the movie (it is entertaining), but you might point out to the kids in your life that it helps to believe in something that is real.

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