Stephen Lang, Yi Ding, Ryan Slater
Pandas are darn cute. Panda cubs are even cuter. Cute enough, in fact, to carry on their furry shoulders this routine family adventure, the story of a 10-year-old American boy (Slater, younger brother of Christian) who, along with a Chinese girl (Ding), becomes lost in the Himalayas while trying to save a panda cub snatched from its mother by poachers. The boy is in China visiting his panda-loving pop (Lang), a naturalist so consumed with his work at a panda preserve that he hasn’t seen sonny boy since divorcing his mom two years ago. We’re looking at parallel construction here. The boy must reunite emotionally with his father, and the still nursing panda cub needs its mother to survive. Compare and contrast and discuss among yourselves.
Panda Adventure is preceded by a new five-minute Bugs Bunny cartoon, Carrotblanca, a sly parody of Casablanca that won’t mean a hill of beans to kids (unless they’re budding cineasts familiar with the 1942 classic) but will amuse their elders. The two best parts: Tweety making like Peter Lorre, all paranoid and whispery, and the revisionist ending in which Bugs, as Bogie, gets the girl. (PG)