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Kung Fu Panda stars Black and Hoffman attend London premiere (2008)

Kung Fu Panda premiere, London

Story by Jack Foley

FILM fans in Leicester Square were treated to dragon dancing, contortionists, kung fu demonstrations and celebrity appearances at the London premiere of animated hit Kung Fu Panda on Thursday, June 26, 2008.

Jack Black demonstrated his martial arts moves with life-size pandas, and also hugged and high-fived fans, while co-stars Dustin Hoffman, Ian McShane and Lucy Liu demonstrated the more peaceful art of origami in front of reporters.

Liu crafted a boat out of paper while Hoffman, who voices a rare small red panda, named Shifu, made a paper plane before throwing it into the crowd.

Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan, who also lend their voices to the film, did not attend the screening.

Kung Fu Panda follows the fortunes of a bungling panda, named Po (voiced by Black), who aspires to be a kung fu warrior. When given the opportunity to fulfil his dream, he must also defeat a fierce warrior (voiced by Ian McShane).

Supporting him is a wise master (Hoffman) and some fellow kung fu able animals (Jolie, Chan, Seth Rogen etc) who all have doubts about Po’s ability to turn into a lean, mean fighting machine.

The film, which is already a massive hit in America, received its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and opens in the UK next month.

The film has come under fire, though, from some Chinese people who are urging the country’s censors to ban it in protest against Steven Spielberg’s decision to withdraw from the Olympics in his role as artistic adviser. Spielberg founded Dreamworks, the animated arm of which made Kung Fu Panda.

View photos from the London premiere