As a parent of two kids I watch a great deal of animated movies. We have a whole library with almost every major Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks. They enjoy old Silly Symphony shorts as well as newer things as Up.
When we watched Kung Fu Panda I remembered my blog entry about dehumanize villains. This movie is a perfect example of the trend where we get to understand the villain. And not only do we get to know why he is the way he is, we also find out that it is not entirely his own fault.
This is very far from movies like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White where the villain is just evil without any explanation or effort to make us understand.
Is Tai Lung a less frightening villain than the evil stepmothers or Maleficent in the older movies? I wouldn’t say so; On the contrary. I would rather say that he is more frightening because he could have been any of us, under other circumstances.
And when Tai Lung confronts Shifu and Shifu asks for his forgiveness, the villain too has to make a choice, just like the hero. Of course Tai Lung makes the wrong choice, but he gets the chance. Can you think of a confrontation like this between Cinderella and her stepmother?