Friday, December 13, 2013

Your Favorite Movie Needs More Pandas

panda, cuddly, black and white, bear, china, woods
Image by J. Patrick Fischer
by Lane Severson

What would make every movie from Citizen Kane to China Town better? Pandas.

Have all of the main characters be played by Pandas. Keep everything else exactly the same.

Remember Beverly Hills Ninja with Chris Farley? Now, remember when they redid it with a Panda and called it Kung Fu Panda? Yeah, exactly.  BHN is a depressing display of Chris Farley jumping the shark. KFP redefined children's animated martial arts comedy.

The appeal of the panda is hard to quantify. But by using some advanced BS technology we've recently developed, we now estimate that any film remade with a Panda would gain an instant "Two Decomposed Thumbs Up" from Siskel and Ebert. Here are some potential reviews:

1. No Country for Old Pandas

The original film raised questions about the depth of evil and cruelty that exists in the world, personified by Anton Chigurh, a killer with no respect for persons, a murderer of the innocent. But we also feel, deep inside, that no person is truly innocent, which tempers our outrage at the acts. Yet, once the film was updated to show Chigurh mercilessly hunting and brutally murdering the upright and adorable Llewelyn Panda, we saw what true evil really looked like. The Coen brothers couldn't even bring themselves to show Panda's murder, or his dead body. And for that, we are certainly thankful.

*This reviewer thought Tommy Lee Jones had been replaced with a bloodhound. But after consulting with his wife, he was told that “Jones just looks like that.”

2. The Panda Wears Prada

A young Panda graduates from journalism school and scores a job working for Cruella de Vil, who has seemingly given up on the whole killing puppies thing, and now spends all her time trying to ruin Panda's life.  Panda attempts to make the best of the situation and, to be honest, I have no idea how this ends because, I just can't...

giant panda, cuddly, black and white, snuggles, bear
Image by Jeff Kubina
3. Broke Back Panda

Once Pandas were cast in the remake of Broke Back Mountain, it became apparent to everyone that they were just making a documentary about Pandas. (Seriously. Pandas are gay. Ask Robert P. Golouski)

4. Citizen Panda

This film opens on a dying Howard Panda, alone in his baller mansion. With his final breath he gasps, "Sugar Cane." Flashback follows flashback after flashback, until we realize that all Howard Panda ever really wanted was a piece of sugar cane he was deprived of. But he also treats every other panda in his life like they are worthless. I don't know that there is any real excuse for that. Is there anything more depraved than a selfish panda? But the poetry of the tale strikes a deeper chord as well; if sweet and cuddly Howard Panda can become a monster, what chance do we mere humans have at living a carefree life chewing sugar cane? By the conclusion of the film, we are beating our chests with a our fists and yelling, "Give it up, Mr. Panda! Run back to the mountains and eat sugar cane. What is you panda innocence worth?"

*The only weird part of this film was the choice to have Howard Panda wear a mask of a really old Orson Welles. This reviewer thought that was tacky.

5. The Passion of the Panda

Mel Gibson has gone too effing far this time. I understand that Panda-monium is sweeping the country, but did we really need a three-hour film about the brutal torture and crucifixion of a panda? I couldn't even watch it; the entire idea is abhorrent. Still, this movie is better than the original since, by making it, Mel Gibson went a step too far and was finally excommunicated. I'm not saying that anything justifies this kind of anti-pandite film, but if a panda did have to die a horrible death on a cross, at least Mel Gibson was damned to hell as a result.

6. The Panda's Bride

With classic lines like, "My name is Pandito Panda; you killed my father; prepare to die." And "You keep saying panda; I do not think it means what you think it means."

This film also contains some mild Panda torture. But it is done in such a tasteful and magical way that it improves the romance of the story. Even so, you might want to look away.

7. The Panda, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Hey Mel Gibson, you sick freak, this is how you make a movie showing that comparing a Pandas are like to Jesus Christ. You make them it the protector of young children and hero of a magical land; you don't beat the crap out of one it until everyone in the audience has puked their guts out. I still get goosebumps every time I hear, "Panda is on the move."

panda, guns, graffiti, art, wall, black and white
Image by Raphael Labbe
8. Reservoir Pandas

Quentin Tarantino maintains his position as the master of style. Heis decision to replace only Joe Cabot and Nice Guy Eddie with pandas is both tasteful and genius. The brutal, ugly, violent nature of the film is reserved only for the human characters.  Panda Cabot flips through his address book muttering, “Toby? Toby Chow?”  And the wrestling match between Nice Guy Panda and Michael Madsen is so heartwarming, this reviewer wept for a solid five minutes afterwards.

9. A Panda Runs Through It

This is one where the movie’s plot was radically changed (and for the better) by introducing a panda. Instead of watching Kevin Bacon be a total frickin’ creeper, you get to watch a panda just run through different things. My favorite scene was either when the panda ran through a waterfall only to roll onto the set of the David Letterman show, or when Panda ran through the airport to catch a late flight.

10. Panda's Inc.

The only change to the movie that this reviewer could discern was that Sully is now white and black, instead of blue and purple. Four stars.

Lane Severson blogs at On Pop Theology and Out of Ur. He likes charismatic liturgy and listening to Kanye West or Jay Z with his wife and five children. Lane can be found at or on Twitter @_lxnx.

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