Amazing Panda Adventure
High in the Himalayan mountain jungles of China, American naturalist Michael Tyler (Steven Lang) is in charge of protecting the giant pandas on a Chinese government preserve. When his son Ryan (Ryan Slater) arrives from the U.S. to visit him, his dad virtually ignores him. But Ryan convinces his dad that he should go with him into the jungle on an urgent mission. They are accompanied by a young Chinese girl interpreter, Ling (Yi Ding), and an elderly Chines naturalist named Chu (Huang Fu). Before long, they find themselves in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with two greedy Chines poachers who have captured a mother panda and her cub. When Ryan’s dad is injured and returns to the preserve, Ryan, Ling and Chu continue to search for the missing pandas. This thrusts them into dangerous confrontations with the Chinese poachers. They have some suspenseful, exciting adventures and the mountain scenery is spectacular. However, the story is rather predictable and lacks any creative turn of events. But its action and suspense will likely be a hit with young people.
The story features the need for saving prized animal species from extinction. It also dramatizes the importance of fathers making time to know and communicate with their children. At first, Michael feels he is under too much pressure to spend time with Ryan, but eventually realizes that Ryan desperately needs his attention and love. Refreshingly, the dialogue is virtually devoid of offensive language with the exception of one mild crudity and the word “God” used as an exclamation. Although Ryan and his cohorts have to fight off the poachers and resort to kicking and hitting them with sticks, this moderate violence is a legitimate part of the story. It is unfortunate, though, that the nude Ryan and Ling are shown submerged in a pond where they exchange a few mild suggestive remarks about nudity. It’s also unfortunate that Ryan joins some village natives in drinking some rice wine. Even with these flaws, the film has no seriously offensive elements and contains a number of positive features. It is appropriate for youngsters from about 6 to 12 years of age. Carrotblanca THE AMAZING PANDA ADVENTURE is preceded by a short new cartoon entitled CARROTBLANCA. It is a parody on the film CASABLANCA and many of the cartoon characters impersonate the characters in that 1940s movie. Most of the old Loony Tune cartoon characters are present, including Bugs Bunny himself who impersonates Humphrey Bogart. Daffy Duck, Tweety, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Pepe Le Dew also make appearances. It is fairly entertaining, but may have limited appeal for children because they will not be familiar with the original CASABLANCA characters.