With the movie still roaring in theaters staying at #2 this weekend and grossing $155,596,000 domestically so far, here's a quick snippet from a Journal of Interesting Tidbits post on why it's not so much the movie, but the same old same old that can get you:
Kung Fu Panda, one can immediately grasp the essence of the movie before even watching it. Having a cute panda with Chinese Kung Fu would surely make a Hollywood block-buster. But the movie is pretty much confined within Hollywood's self-defined, so called "main-stream", perception of Asian Americans.Clean. Clear. To the point.
My point wasn't quite about racism, it was more about exploitation of a culture that is routinely treated as "exotic."
And since Asian Americans aren't always as mobilized as black Americans, they sometimes don't throw down over these sorts of things, even if they annoy them. This obviously wasn't worth a full assault. It's more of a minor infraction.
So my point really wasn't so much about the film, but how Asian Americans don't see representations of themselves as just people, not kung fu masters or cartoons, but just people in cinema.
That doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad movie, but it is part of a cycle that continues to only dramatize the parts of Asian culture western audiences are most fascinated by.