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Kung Fu Panda 2

A 2011 movie directed by Jennifer Yuh.

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The Awesomeness is Back!

  • Jun 28, 2012
Rating:
+4
Was I the only one a little disturbed by the scene in the first Kung Fu Panda where Po's father told us the lineage of his noodle stand? You know, where he said he got it from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father, who were all geese? And in the fourth picture, the animal was finally changed, but it turned out the stand was won in a game of chance? And we wondered just how Po got to be a Panda? Well, Kung Fu Panda 2 gives the answer to that question.

I picked up the first Kung Fu Panda on a day when I was in serious need of a good laugh. Not only did I get my laugh, but I also found one of the best animated movies of the last decade, one better than even some of Pixar's vaunted animation cannon. So I was eager to get a look at Kung Fu Panda 2, even knowing the track record of sequels. Kung Fu Panda 2 avoids making a lot of bad mistakes that sequels tend to make.

Kung Fu Panda 2 finds Po on the second part of his mastery of Kung Fu. One of the big ideas presented in this movie is the search for inner peace, which Master Shefu says Po is now ready to undertake. Po, being Po, misunderstands the whole idea at first. Upon hearing Shefu tell him about inner peace, Po remarks that his innards are already super, super peaceful, so he pretty well has that handled. In the meantime, an evil Peacock named Shen returns to his ancestral home of Gongman City, where he was promised the throne. But Shen didn't leave Gongman City to go out and find himself or anything like that. Oh, he did manage to find something while he spent 30 years in the outside world, but what he found was just a new weapon capable of rendering Kung Fu null and void. See, Shen was a son of the royal family. This royal family discovered fireworks a long time ago, but Shen, not being an inner-peace-minded thinker himself, immediately thought of a slightly more nefarious purpose for them than just celebrations. His creative different purpose for the fireworks horrified his family, and when Shen himself was told by a soothsayer that he would be defeated by a black and white warrior if he didn't change his ways, he responded the same way most of the wise kings of The Bible did: He had the Panda population exterminated. His family was even more horrified by this, and they banished him.

In the final stages of his plan, Shen needs more metal to get the job done, so he sends his henchmen out to the furthest reaches of China in order to steal the metal supply. While Shefu and Po are having their little chat about inner peace, Shen's henchmen happen to take their village, and during the ensuing fight between Shen's lackeys and the Furious Five and Dragon Warrior, Po is suddenly distracted by a vision of his mother set off by a symbol the hench leader is wearing. So now, in order to defeat Shen and restore peace to China, Po has to make his inner peace with his past and figure out just who he is and where he comes from. Big themes for a movies that doesn't even break the 90-minute mark.

Probably the thing that pleased me the most about Kung Fu Panda 2 is the fact that it doesn't try to repeat the overarching plot of the first Kung Fu Panda. Yeah, Po needs inner peace, but that's all he needs. There's no discovering the secret technique more powerful than Shen's anti-Kung Fu weapon or his trying to earn the trust of the Furious Five after some galactic screwup. The first movie set up the fact that Po finaly realized the secret of being a great Kung Fu master, and when Kung Fu Panda 2 picks up, that's exactly what he is. Even though real martial arts is a constant learning process, it was established in the first movie that Po has the mentality needed to keep learning and is a great master of Kung Fu, so there was no sense in retreading that territory. He also earned the trust of Master Shefu and the Furious Five, and they know what he's capable of and fully respect him, so there's no sense in going through that again, either.

Indeed, I was happy to see the way Tigress, Mantis, Snake, Monkey, and Crane all reacted to Po in Kung Fu Panda 2. Although Po - being, you know, Po - can still be a major klutz, none of the members of the Furious Five ever question his abilities or lose their respect for him. Even the intense and stoic Tigress always speaks to him with a genuine warmth and compassion. Tigress is still the caricature of the stern and emotionless warrior - she was, after all, the one in the first movie who objected the most to Po - so she does it in a more subtle way than the others, but her trust for Po and his abilities remains intact throughout the whole movie. Even the two masters that become minor characters in the movie, Storming Ox and Croc, don't question who Po is or his abilities. Po's reputation certainly seems to have spread pretty far and wide since he became the Dragon Warrior!

The voiceover work, even in this day of ego-checking at the front door, really outdoes itself with talent. Jack Black plays Po, Angelina Jolie is Tigress, Dustin Hoffman is Shefu, Lucy Liu is Viper, and Dennis Haysbert is Storming Ox. They even got a trio of great martial arts actors into Kung Fu Panda 2, starting with Jackie Chan as Monkey and stretching to include Michelle Yeoh as the soothsayer and Jean-Claude Van Damme as Croc. (Who even performs his trademark split at one point.) The best performance in the movie, however, is the great Gary Oldman - one of my favorite actors ever - reprising the player part that made him famous in the first place. He voices the uber-evil Shen with panache and flair, bringing to mind some of his more over-the-top villain roles.

Kung Fu Panda 2 goes into considerably darker territory than the first movie. Hell, there's even a genocide. That's what happens with Guillermo Del Toro's name in the credits. But despite the darker themes, Kung Fu Panda 2 is always upbeat and funny, and it makes several references to the first Kung Fu Panda, from a montage near the end to Po commenting on the handcuffs used to bind him at one point being the same kind of cuffs they used for the villain of the last movie.

Kung Fu Panda 2, overall, teams with awesomeness and win and is a must-see for fans of animated movies.

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More Kung Fu Panda 2 reviews
review by . May 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Skadoooshhh!! The Return of Awwwessoommmeee Panda-Monium!!
I have to admit that I was one of those who were pleasantly surprise how “Kung Fu Panda” in 2008 may have surpassed Dreamworks’ much praised animated movie “Shrek”. It was just a piece of creative wonder that combined Chinese martial arts sensibilities, action, quirky comedy and a well-rounded story with Jack Black’s fast-talking humor and eccentricity, enveloped in a good-natured manner. While I was prepared for the worst, (animated movie sequels usually never …
review by . June 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****     When all is said and done, I suppose that I must applaud "Kung Fu Panda 2" for being a better sequel than it really needs to be. Many sequels both animated and not release each year; most of them failing to deliver. "Kung Fu Panda 2" may not be great, but as animated entertainment, it serves its purpose rather superbly. It's definitely a recommendation for those who appreciate animated films, and those who enjoyed the first film will probably find plenty to …
review by . June 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
When an animated movie hits the right note for me, it really knocks it out of the park. I’ve sat through my fair share of awful animated movies, and when one screws up the formula, it’s really hard to sit through. You can see the resolution coming a mile away, and the jokes that fail to hit the golden balance between kids and adults makes you want to jump out of a window. Thankfully, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a classic benchmark for efficiently mixing humor, action, and a hybrid sort of story …
review by . July 21, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
A Worthy Continuation of the Original
   In my opinion DreamWorks has always played second fiddle to Pixar in the computer generated feature film genre.  Their rivalry has existed for nearly as long as there has been a computer generated feature film genre! Pixar had Toy Story, DreamWorks had Small Soldiers. Pixar had A Bug’s Life, DreamWorks Antz. Pixar Monsters Inc., DreamWorks Monsters Vs. Aliens.  Pixar with Cars and DreamWorks with Trucks.  No wait, I made that last one up.  But you get the …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Po returns to battle evil with his improved kung-fu skills and this time he will be rocking out in another dimension of awesomeness. Dreamworks, never one to let a franchise die until the last drop of profit and respect is drained out of the series, plans to make this a six-part series. While an action movie can usually extend itself as long as it has a credible threat from a powerful villain, one can't help but think how many times you could hear Jack Black as a panda. Well on the plus side, …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Kung Fu Panda 2 is a deeply involving 3D animated film, although (and this should come as no surprise to you) it has little to do with the 3D, a consistently disappointing process if ever there was one. Firstly, like its 2008 predecessor, it’s simply a lot of fun. There’s sheer exuberance to the characters, the vocal performances, and the animation – the latter especially, since there are plenty of gravity-defying martial arts …
review by . June 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   PG - 90mins - Animation/Action/Adventure - 10th June 2011    Po (Jack Black) returns in another kung fu animation adventure which sees our ever hungry panda face up to a new and devastating threat in the form of angry albino peacock (Gary Oldman) Lord Shen. Having been cast out by his parents years before for his atrocities, Shen has been biding his time returning with a new technology that threatens to enable him to conquer China.      Po is joined once …
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Wiki

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a American 3D 2011 computer-animated action comedy film and the sequel to the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda. The cast of the original film reprised their voice roles. The film was released on May 26, 2011 in Real D 3D and Digital 3D.
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Details

Director: Jennifer Yuh
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family
Release Date: 26 May 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Glenn Berger, Jonathan Aibel
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