KUNG FU PANDA Christmas Special Will Air in 3D

     September 6, 2010

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I rather like the resurgence of new animated programs for the holidays, to support the claymation classics.  Disney’s Prep & Landing is an amiable entry, but DreamWorks Animation has led the charge, first with Shrek the Halls in 2007, then Merry Madagascar in 2009.  Shrek is slotted for a Halloween celebration in October (titled Scared Shrekless — ick), with a Kung Fu Panda holiday special to follow in December.  I was content with the technological leap in from claymation to CGI, but DreamWorks apparently has bigger plans: 3D!  More after the jump.

A member of The Animation Guild [via Bleeding Cool] caught a screening of the special at DreamWorks headquarters, where they were in fact projecting it in 3D.  The guild rep was impressed, remarking, “DWA creates kick-ass dimensional cinema. The cuts and transitions were witty, making vivid use of the technology, and the gags played like gangbusters.”  He also confirmed that the original voice cast is “in place”: I’ll presume that includes Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, and Angelina Jolie, at the very least.

The original Kung Fu Panda dropped in 2008, just shy of the big 3D boom.  That extra dimension appears to be a mandate at DreamWorks Animation now, so the sequel Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom will play in 3D theaters when it opens on May 26, 2011.  The shape of Po always seemed designed for his belly to burst out of the screen, and I’m excited to see how the animators employ 3D for the martial arts battles, so the technique feels like a good fit for Kaboom.  I don’t think I’ll have the technology in place to watch the holiday special in 3D by December 2011, but you can bet I’ll check it out in 2D.  Will you be watching?  If so, which format?

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