Force Fields, Ray Guns, and Kung Fu Panda

Only two things are necessary for a perfect life: a force field and a ray gun.

With a force field and a ray gun, you could secede from the union and set up a sovereign nation on your own personal estate, driving away tax collectors and forcing the government to send ambassadors to come and treat with you. Washington would end up giving you crap if you would only please, please not sell the force field or ray gun technology to the bad guys, and we’ll give you anything you want. So you demand a billion dollars annually, tax free, and you go from there. And instead of throwing you in jail for being an extortionist and a blackmailer, the simpering weasels will be all too happy to appease you like crazy and praise your wisdom and statesmanlike conduct.

And if someone gets into office who actually has some spine, just turn up the settings on the force field, and even nukes will bounce off it. Or aim the ray gun at something expensive that nobody will ever miss, like a casino or Paris Hilton. You wouldn’t have to kill anyone – just set it to stun, but fry off her hair as a warning shot. Save the maximum setting for people like Keith Olbermann or Michael Moore. No, I’m not calling for the murder of Keith Olbermann or Michael Moore. Unless you have a really cool ray gun that you absolutely can’t test any other way.

It’s just been pointed out to me that the force field would have to allow beams from the ray gun to shoot out, but not allow return fire to come in. That’s absolutely correct. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that a force field that does not allow outgoing fire would be part of a perfect life. Because that’s wrong. Entirely wrong. It couldn’t be any more wrong.

With a one-way mirror style force field, it’s all good. Besides, I hear the chicks dig force fields and ray guns.

Took the young’uns to see Kung Fu Panda this weekend. I was very pleasantly surprised at how very good it was. I was expecting something Shrekkish – you know, lots of smarmy pop culture references, plenty of flatulence, a saccharine sort of feel-good ending where we all learn how to love again. I feel the same way after seeing those movies that I feel after eating a gallon of week-old cotton candy – sickly sweet, stale, and vaguely nauseous.

Kung Fu Panda is nothing like that.

No pop culture smarm. No bowel humor. Nothing sacharrine about it. And Jack Black gives a remarkably restrained, clever vocal performance. The story is focused and fun, and the kung fu action is really, really cool. I don’t know how they could have marketed this any differently, because no one expects a panda doing kung fu to have as much substance as this movie ended up with. But, when all is said and done, it’s still a movie about a panda that does kung fu.  The theatre wasn’t particularly full, though, so I hope word of mouth will push this one over the top.

My 11-year old daughter didn’t like it, though. I think she’s too cool for school. Don’t listen to her. Listen to me. I’m the one with ray gun.

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