Kung Fu Panda

As Po Ping, a portly, kung fu-loving panda bear, Jack Black gives his freshest, funniest comic performance since his breakout role in Richard Linklater's The School of Rock. Fortunately, this CGI ’toon from DreamWorks Animation factory has several things going for it besides Black's rambunctiously funny vocal turn. Directors John Stevenson and Mark Osborne have crafted a great-looking film that's one of the most eye-pleasing, non-Pixar animated features in recent memory. There's a supple richness to the images, many inspired by Asian art/anime traditions, that makes it a veritable feast for the eyes from start to finish. Plus, it's one of the few DreamWorks cartoons in the post Shrek-ian world that doesn't feel compelled to insert punning — and usually pandering — pop-culture references into every other line of dialogue. That absence of wink-wink, nudge-nudge japery probably explains why Kung Fu Panda goes down so easily. You can trance out on all of the pretty pictures and smile at the cute critters without having to explain half the jokes to your kids — or a pop cult-impaired significant other. CWRU Strosacker Auditorium. At 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8. HHH