Kung Fu Panda 2

KUNG FU PANDA 2

 

By Gary Murray

 

Starring the voice talents of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, David Cross and Gary Oldman

 

Written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger

 

Directed by Jennifer Yuh

 

Running time 91 min

 

MPAA Rating PG

 

Selig Film Rating Matinee

 

Kung Fu Panda was a cute little flick about following your dreams and believing in yourself.  This 2008 film was a charming little bit of computer animation.  DreamWorks, knowing a good thing when they create it, have made a sequel to this blockbuster.  It has the stunningly original title of Kung Fu Panda II.

 

The newest adventure takes place after all the events of the first one.  In some stunning old style cell animation, we get the back-story of the time before the first film, Lord Shen is a ruler of a neighboring village and it has been prophesied that he will be defeated by a black & white foe.  To stop this from happening, he destroys.

 

Back in 3D computer animation, Po (Jack Black) is still the Kung Fu Master and still saving the little village of furry creatures.  Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) pushes Po to find inner peace.   Po is still a local celebrity but he keeps having visions about his origins.  Po confronts his goose father (James Hong) and finds that he’s adopted.  Then, the village is attacked for all the metal. 

 

Po and his fellow Furious Five fighters take on all the bad guys in a furious display of martial arts. Though they battle with power and grace, the bad wolves take the metal.  They follow the wolves and find that Lord Shen is creating a monstrous weapon.  It is up to Po and his fellow super warriors to stop Chen from using the weapon and taking over all of China.

 

There are some very menacing and disturbing images in Kung Fu Panda II.  Some of the younger audience members were crying and screaming at some of the shadowy fight scenes.  The youngest viewers will probably have nightmares after seeing the flick.  It is purposefully dark.  At times it is almost too loud and too busy. 

 

The animation, both 3D computer and old school cell, are just a wonder to see.  The colors of the film just jump off the screen.  This is one of the most beautiful films to watch, with painstakingly perfect background and visuals elements.  The 3D also works perfectly, another proof that only animated films work with the technology.

 

DreamWorks has a tendency to drive a concept into the ground (Shrek parts III and IV for example).  Here they make a worthy sequel.  While still not the quality of Pixar, this is still charming second adventure. 

 

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