Kung Fu Panda 2 Review

In the Year of the Rat (2008), the Dragon Warrior was chosen by the fates. The kung fu spirits had shined down upon Po, son of Ping, and the story of a simple noodle-maker’s legendary awesomeness was told. Through rigorous training and a multitude of meditation, a hero arose to bring forth peace, $630 million in worldwide box office grosses and an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Film. But can can lighting strike twice with Kung Fu Panda 2?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ63rqSRrEI

With things quiet in the Valley of Peace, it isn’t long before a new evil arises. Once again Po (voiced by Jack Black) and the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross), guided by Master Shifu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), must stop it. In the process, Po must come to terms with the realization that he’s adopted and discover his origins before he can be at peace to defeat the evil Lord Shen (void by Gary Oldman).

Now the interesting thing is that the Kung Fu Panda franchise has been marketed as a silly kid’s movie or family film, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Despite the goofy and clowned nature of the main character, the movie actually brings to light a subject that some parents can find it hard to explain to kids. Namely, adoption. While it doesn’t club you over the head with the adoption aspect, it can help get kids familiar with the idea of it. Another cool thing in the story telling of Kung Fu Panda 2 is the way Po’s flashbacks were done. During these flashes of his past, when he was separated from his family, the film goes from superb 3D models to 2D cartoon. This not only was a cool way to change the speed or pace of the film, but also gives kids a way to understand it’s a slightly separate story that they’re in the middle of watching.

In addition to the story telling and the computer graphics, the movie’s music is excellent. Hans Zimmer does a great job to help accent touching, adventures and the comedic moments in the film. While still giving the musical score a Chinese feel, Hans Zimmer once again knocks it out of the park.

Finally, I have to remark about the 3D factor. With most 3D films to-date, most are just 2D movies with 3D tacked on. However with animated CG films, adding a 2nd camera isn’t that difficult, thus giving more depth to the CG environments while viewing in 3D.

Overall, it’s easy to recommend the Kung Fu Panda 2. The first film was a surprising success and the second is likely to have the same success. Although a kid friendly film, it isn’t too kiddie to entertain adults and surely to be one of this summer’s hits.

Kung Fu Panda 2, starring Jack Black, is out in theaters May 26, 2011.

Todd Lipska

Todd’s geekiness started off early with his family’s first computer: a TRS-80. As a contributing writer, head photographer, lead programmer and one of the founders of Media Geeks, well, suffice it to say, he’s a busy guy.

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