Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review - Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

“How can kung fu stop something that stops kung fu?”

Director: Jennifer Yuh
Actors: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman and Lucy Liu
Writers: Jonathan Aibel, Glen Berger

Last year as time was ticking away, I happened to go and watch Megamind and it made my top ten list of 2010 from the sheer awesomeness of it. Sitting down to watch Kung Fu Panda 2 I wondered if this would follow suit and Dreamworks would rock my world more than Pixar. So did this Panda give me the five finger punch of death, or was it more white belt in its Kung Fu ways?

I really enjoyed the first movie and was impressed how much it got to me. Especially considering how Jack Black can annoy me sometimes. For the sequel I was happy to be drawn back into the world, and liked getting to know the characters all over again. One of the problems with some voice acting is the audience can be taken out of the movie with higher profile celebrities as they try and match face to voice. However in the first movie and this sequel the actors truly seem to embody the characters. Po was Po, he wasn’t Jack Black doing a voice. Thanks to this I was more emotionally connected with the story as these characters were ‘real.’

On the voice acting everyone is excellent, with Gary Oldman and Jack Black the stand outs in my mind. Mr Black is able to make Po a true innocent in the world, and when the story gets serious there is no over playing it. Oldman as Shen is having a blast as a villain, and thankfully he plays it to the max, creating a villain that is going ahead with his plan with out any consideration for others. All the others are perfectly fine and it was nice to have Jackie Chan doing a little more in this movie, as he wasn’t given much in the first one.

Story wise the movie cleverly highlights maybe one of the weirder aspects of the first movie. You see Po the Panda had a Duck for a father, doesn’t make much sense. Oh wait he’s adopted. It’s not a surprise but it does make you wonder if plans were set in place from the beginning for sequels. While the save the kingdom plot is nice and simple and allows for some great action, the core story of Po trying to figure out who he is, and his past is emotional. The great thing is the story not only brings depth to the character of Po, but amplifies the evil of the villain Shen. Like the first movie, this sequel gives the kids a good message which is never too preachy.

Dreamworks has always known how to make movies that looked good; it’s just never had the heart of Pixar. Or that was the case but that’s all changing, thankfully in their quest to create better stories they haven’t forgotten how to make a beautiful movie. In this movie there is actually a mix between the cgi created imagery and beautiful dream scenes that are done in a more traditional manner. Kung Fu fights are glorified throughout the movie and puts some non cartoon based action movies to shame.

So it’s obvious that I really enjoyed this movie and I think it’s better than the first one. If you liked the first movie, then you will like this sequel. Parents should get out there and buy the double pack of Kung Fu Panda, you won’t regret. Ah hell I think anyone who is a fan of animated features should get the double pack, I know I will.


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  2. No advertising allowed on this blog, unless I get a huge sack of money. But nice try.