Kung Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a 2011 DreamWorks Animation Studios computer-animated action comedy film and is the sequel to the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda.  It was released in conventional theaters, InTru Digital 3D, and IMAX 3D (in international territories only).

The film stars the voice talents of Jack Black, Academy Award Winner Angelina Jolie, Academy Award Winner Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Michelle Yeoh, Danny McBride, Dennis Haysbert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Victor Garber.

The music is written and composed by Academy Award Winning Composer Hans Zimmer and Academy Award Nominated Composer John Powell.

The film is produced by DreamWorks Animation Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

It is directed by Jennifer Yuh, making her directorial debut.

Po is back and he is even more awesome!!!  Kung Fu Panda 2 continues the story of the Dragon Warrior and the Furious Five, this time, they have to save Kung Fu from Lord Shen, a Kung Fu Master Peacock with a HUGE chip on his shoulder.

The entire cast from the first movie is back in full force and are having even more fun this time around.  And being joined by THE MASTER himself Jean-Claude Van Damme is just the amazing icing on the cake.  The cast delivers just like they did in the first film, no better or worse. Gary Oldman really knocked it out of the park as the voice of the villain, Lord Shen.  No matter what this man does, he always seems to enjoy what he is doing, and that comes out in all of his performances.

Kung Fu Panda 2 does what every good sequel is supposed to do, which is take the idea from the first movie, reshape it, give it its own story, and make the stakes bigger for the characters while at the same time going more in depth on the characters in order to get more invested in the overall film.  Diving into Po’s past was the best way to do this.  We find out things about the character that before we never would have even guessed.  Like did you know that the Mr. Ping, the noodle-obsessed goose isn’t the panda’s real father???  I had no idea………

Hans Zimmer and John Powell returned to score this new installment computer-animated series (that means Powell returned and did all the work while Zimmer ate doughnuts and got credit…hehehe).  This isn’t the best work that has been done, and honestly, the score for the first film is far superior.  I did enjoy when they used tracks from the first movie though.  Gave me a little chuckle.

As with all computer-animated films, the 3D works extremely well for the panda.  They were able to play with all the different layers the film has to offer and really added a lot of depth to the film.

My favorite part of the film, just like the first one, is the martial arts choreography.  All the different characters have their own distinct style of Kung Fu and completely compliments them as characters.  Having studied this myself, it’s really fun to see tiger-style actually done by a tiger.

The movie was just extremely clean-looking and flowed very well.  Unfortunately, I felt the film was rushed.  Tapping out at a run time of only 91 minutes, Kung Fu Panda 2 is definitely a movie that could have benefited from maybe another 20 minutes of character study, maybe to dive even deeper and more in depth to Po’s backstory.  It’s not often you hear me say that a movie should have been longer, but this is one of those rare times.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 2 was a fun sequel for everyone to enjoy and even with its short runtime, you can still enjoy yourself.

a 7 out of 10

(release date: 26 May 2011)

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~ by Matt Whitfield on June 11, 2011.

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