The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

Ariana Grande released “eternal sunshine” on Mar. 8 along with a music video for her track “we can’t be friends.” With smooth instrumentals, melodic vocals and complex lyrics, I give this album a 9/10 stars.
A “Supernatural” Album
Julia Seiden, Reporter • April 12, 2024

As an Ariana Grande fan for many...

Catching a ball, junior Alivia Robinson plays at the Cedar Park vs Glenn game. Having played since she was 5 years old, she is dedicated to softball and has committed to UTPB for softball. “When I got my offer it took me a very long time to decide where,” Robinson said. “Softball has always been my dream for college, and UTPB is my fit. When [I committed] I knew I was going to be loved and supported.”
Swinging For Success
Julia Seiden, Reporter • April 12, 2024

This season, the softball team...

Junior Abby Williams on the set of The One Act Play That Goes Wrong posing next to senior Noa Avigdor, juniors Evan Schmitt and Seth Loudenslager, and sophomore Ben Akers. “I still think that ‘The One Act Play That Goes Wrong’ has to be my favorite,” Williams said. “Its the show where I discovered my love for comedy and comedic acting, and where I found out that I have really good comedic timing, if I do say so myself. I got a round of applause in the middle of the show for a moment that I am very proud of.”
A Seasons Sensation
Mia Morneault, Reporter • April 11, 2024

Captain of her troupe, a first...

Posing with their “Featured Yearbook” banner, signifying that the 2022-2023 yearbook is used as an example for other yearbook classes, the yearbook team smiles at the camera. Yearbooks have been on sale for $80 all school year, with 90 left in stock. “Im really happy with this book,” content editor and senior James Sanderson said. “I think other people are going to be happy with it; all our pages look really cute. Issues are a thing, but we have them every single year and we dont let them get in the way. We work on a very, very tight schedule and theres no pushing deadlines back. It’s a lot of fun, though. It is such an amazing staff and a very engaging team. Its very fulfilling work.” Photo courtesy of Paige Hert
The Staff Behind the Spreads
Kacey Miller, Editor-in-Chief • April 10, 2024

He rings the classroom doorbell...

Standing for a group photo, Rho Kappa volunteers group together to run the Women’s History Month gallery walk in the library. “The members’ involvement was really nice to see,” Rho Kappa Vice President James Sanderson said. “I liked seeing our Rho Kappa members actively participate in community events, especially with something as important as women’s history. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Fortenberry
Walking Through Time
Jane Yermakov, Reporter • April 9, 2024

To celebrate Women’s History...

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
Caroline Howard, Reporter • April 9, 2024

As someone who searches for chicken...

Swinging For Success

Recent Features Stories

A Seasons Sensation

A Seasons Sensation

April 11, 2024

Captain of her troupe, a first year Seasons Choir member and an actor destined...

The Staff Behind the Spreads

The Staff Behind the Spreads

April 10, 2024

He rings the classroom doorbell as he stands outside its door, the muffled...

A Very Spleen-did Person

A Very Spleen-did Person

April 4, 2024

Known to his students as some form of Mister Brother Professor Tyler Kent...

Walking Through Time

Recent News Stories

Robolobos Go Loco

Robolobos Go Loco

April 3, 2024

Anticipation fills the room in Belton as they patiently wait for the scores to be revealed on March 21....

Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun

April 3, 2024

During the school day on April 8, the Total Solar Eclipse will pass over the school at approximately...

Crosstown Showdown

Crosstown Showdown

April 2, 2024

Screams float through the air as hugs and celebrations take over the field. The gold ball trophy comes...

A Seasons Sensation

Recent Humans of CP Stories

Nabil, the Real Deal

Nabil, the Real Deal

April 5, 2024

The squeaks of sneakers on the court are drowned out by the sounds of the...

A Very Spleen-did Person

A Very Spleen-did Person

April 4, 2024

Known to his students as some form of Mister Brother Professor Tyler Kent...

From Austria to Austin

From Austria to Austin

March 24, 2024

After taxiing lazily along the expansive gravel drive, the plane aligns...

Swinging For Success

Recent Sports Stories

Nabil, the Real Deal

Nabil, the Real Deal

April 5, 2024

The squeaks of sneakers on the court are drowned out by the sounds of the...

Crosstown Showdown

Crosstown Showdown

April 2, 2024

Screams float through the air as hugs and celebrations take over the field....

Jonathan’s Corner

March 20, 2024

Jonathan goes over some of the common trends between some of the usual...

With a Side of Dumplings

Kung Fu Panda 4 Review
Released+March+8%2C+2024%2C+Kung+Fu+Panda+was+produced+by+DreamWorks+Animation+and+is+a+sequel+to+Kung+Fu+Panda+3.+It+was+directed+by+Mike+Mitchell%2C+with+Po+voiced+by+Jack+Black+and+Zhen+by+Nora+Lum+%28more+commonly+known+as+Awkwafina%29.+Graphic+by+Jane+Yermakov
Released March 8, 2024, Kung Fu Panda was produced by DreamWorks Animation and is a sequel to Kung Fu Panda 3. It was directed by Mike Mitchell, with Po voiced by Jack Black and Zhen by Nora Lum (more commonly known as Awkwafina). Graphic by Jane Yermakov

The “Kung Fu Panda” trilogy (or former trilogy), in my eyes, was untouchable by the critics and opinions of others. The stories carried bright and funny animation that delighted my child self, and as I got older, I appreciated the depth of the villains and fun storytelling even more. These days, animation with fleshed out characters, beautiful world building and a unique story are few and far between. It’s a common story for movies in a series to get progressively worse and with the release of the fourth “Kung Fu Panda” movie, I hoped against hope that it would not fall into the majority. I have to say though, I was disappointed as a whole. Writing on my sticky note of what I liked and disliked, it saddened me to see the dislike quadrant of my pad fill up as my likes remained relatively barren in comparison.

The movie starts off with Tai Lung, voiced by Ian McShane, the villain from the first movie, supposedly coming back for revenge. Then it cuts to our beloved panda, Po, voiced by Jack Black, who is told by feisty red panda Shifu, voiced by Dustin Hoffman, that he must find a successor for the Dragon Warrior and that he must follow his path to be the Spiritual Leader of the valley. Comfortable with his life of “kicking butt”, Po is less than pleased by the news. He’s grown popular among the locals, and despite the rest of the Furious Five being off fighting their own battles, Po’s grown stronger.

When news spreads of Tai Lung’s return, Po is determined to defeat him once again, but not until he comes across a thief trying to steal a bunch of artifacts. Po promptly puts the fox in jail, but not without her tipping him off with a clue. He comes back for more information, which is when we are introduced to the villain: the Chameleon, voiced by Viola Davis. She’s a shapeshifter (hence Tai Lung’s false appearance) who seeks to take the powers of Po’s past opponents by using the Staff of Wisdom and eventually take over. This is when Po and Zhen, the fox, enter a partnership. Zhen will show him the way to the Chameleon and she gets to run free. This is the basic plot without any spoilers, although extremely simplified.

I’ll start off by saying that to say I disliked the movie would be a lie. Perhaps I’m biased because of nostalgia for my favorite movies growing up, but this movie is undeniably fun. Po’s departure from the Valley of Peace to Juniper City brought beautiful visuals and an interesting deviation from the usual calm of the valley from previous movies to the thievery and speed of Juniper. Po and Zhen’s arrival in Juniper City was probably my favorite part of the movie. With its exciting hustle and bustle, hilarious characters from the underground and unparalleled fight scenes, it brought me back to that same creativity from the old movies that we know and love. These scenes are the ones that stuck with me, leaving me blinded by love for what characterized the previous movies.

Story continues below advertisement

That being said, I had my fair share of disapprovals. One of the most disappointing for me is that I found that the jokes often fell flat. It’s unfair to constantly compare this movie to its predecessors, but it can’t be helped when this movie’s ancestors were comedy gold. I still laugh watching the first three movies, and yet, I found that this one was lacking. Some jokes were good and got a good laugh, and maybe I’m too old, but I found myself cringing at some.

This brings me to Zhen, the fox who carried the bulk of bad jokes on her back. I can’t say she was my favorite character, and I found certain choices she made throughout the movie lacked much logical reasoning, which frustrated me. I felt that her and Po’s friendship was a tad rushed and not as fully developed as the relationships were in previous movies. For example, Po’s relationship with the Furious Five was unique to each character and had a story behind it. Adding more on the Furious Five, I love how each character has a memorable and distinctive personality, whereas Zhen had that typical snarky personality that I hardly find charming after seeing it so many times in recent movies.

One of my favorite depictions of a villain across cinema is Lord Shen from “Kung Fu Panda 2,” though all the movies up until this one had a solid streak of deep villains. Such a riveting character, with a compelling backstory, amazing character design and arguably one of my favorite fight scenes of all time, Lord Shen is an interesting villain done right. That brings me to my biggest problem with the movie, Chameleon. She completely lacked any depth and there was never a solid reasoning behind her reasons for wanting to take over. It’s so disappointing to see this amazing villain streak end off with such a lazy excuse for an opponent, and her schtick of stealing other’s powers is hardly original. 

With my big disappointments out of the way, there were just some small things about the movie that left me minorly dissatisfied. I felt that the movie was strangely paced at times. Certain unimportant scenes (especially during the journey to Chameleon) dragged on for too long whereas important scenes, literally the climax of the movie, felt rushed. It’s a pretty short movie, its runtime being around 94 minutes, which makes me feel like the time of the scenes definitely could have been managed better. I was also dissatisfied with the ending as all of Po’s previous opponents grew to approve of him, completely disregarding the story building from the previous three movies. This part threw me off especially, and for the love of Kung Fu Panda, I’m choosing to ignore it.

Going into this, I knew my expectations were too high. I knew that it’s impossible for every single “Kung Fu Panda” movie to be amazing. Yet, I hoped anyway. In my eyes, it’s unfair for me to constantly compare it to the previous three movies. A lot has changed since the past movies and I understand that it’s impossible to serve me the same amount of childlike joy I saw in the other movies, because I simply am not a child anymore. For younger kids, I’m sure this movie is just as delightful as the others, but for me, I was left sitting in my chair, hoping for more.

Despite me absolutely ripping into this movie, I will be telling everyone that I loved it, because that’s what loveblind people do. It was never possible for it to be as good as the ones that came before it, but it definitely was not a bad movie. For that, this movie receives three out of five  dumplings .

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Jane Yermakov, Reporter
Jane is a sophomore and a first year reporter. She’s always excited to meet new people, give them a voice and put their stories into writing. She loves listening to all different types of music and has been playing the piano for around two years. She loves to write about people and their unique stories. After graduation, she’s still not sure what she wants to do, but hopes to attend UT Austin. She’s obsessed with looking too deeply into movies, watching corny shows with her friends and she loves her dog.

Comments (0)

Comments on The Wolfpack must be approved before posting.
All The Wolfpack Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *