I originally wanted to give Kung Fu Panda 3.5 out of 5, but Den of Geek won’t let us give half stars on our reviews, so they bumped it down to 3. It’s better than a 3 star movie, so I had Sarah bump it back up to a 4. It’s a fair rating; 3 is an average movie, 4 is above average. It’s not as good as Shrek, but it’s better than Shrek 3.
If you twisted my arm, I’d say it’s safely an above average movie. It’s not the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, but it is pretty funny. More smiles and chuckles than guffaws, though it has definite belly laughs. It’s got a pretty good amount of action without being overly frenetic, but it does have its moments of frenzy that detract slightly from the overall effect.
I have some issues with assigning numerical ratings to something as subjective as a movie. I know how people are (I used to be one myself, before I transcended my physical form and became a noncorporeal being of pure energy), and they tend to gloss over the review and skip directly to the overall rating for fear of spoilers or general laziness. On the other hand, I know that a lot of reviewers, myself included, can tend to fixate on either what they like or didn’t like, rather than give the full picture.
The star designation can soften or sharpen a review as appropriate, which is one of the reasons why I use numerical designations of film quality. Another reason is for comparison purposes; if you and I both think Dr. Phibes Rises Again is a 4 star movie, but you’ve never seen Dolls (which I also rate as 4 stars), you might feel comfortable enough in our shared tastes to check out the criminally neglected 1987 Stuart Gordon classic about killer dollies because I think it is on par with a 1972 Vincent Price classic.
Not that, uh, anyone asked me why I do things the way I do them.