Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) Short Review
Kung Fu Panda 2 is not quite as sharply written as the original, but if you were a fan of that one, you’ll probably like this one. It continues the story of Po, the unlikely overweight Dragon Master. His team of Kung Fu masters (Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane) also return but have a little more of a limited role (with the exception of Angelina Jolie’s Tigress).
The five are voiced by Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu and David Cross respectively. The film relies heavily on the Jack Black persona, though, along with the animator’s brilliantly animating Po’s weight related struggles.
Maybe my favorite character from the original film, Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), doesn’t return for obvious reasons, but James Hong returns as Po’s father Mr. Ping. I actually enjoyed the fact that they never addressed verbally that Mr. Ping was not Po’s real father. It helped give the film even more charm with the things that were left unsaid.
This one takes that plotline on, though, and here Po goes in search of his biological parents. The film ends as you think it will, but there are quite a few surprises along the way. There is also an epilogue that probably will lead into the next film.
Some of the one’s involving the villain’s weapon of choice are spectacular. the villain may be the weakest part of the film, which is surprising since he’s voiced by Gary Oldman. He’s not as menacing as Ian McShane’s Tai Lung. he didn’t have too many great lines to say.
I like the KFP series greatly for several reasons. They don’t do the usual thing that these CGI cartoons do: drop pop culture references. I also enjoy the artistic side of it. IIn some CGI cartoons the backgrounds are rendered so realistically that they should have just shot it in live action.
Here there is a bit more cartoony aesthetic. The colors are bright and bold like 90s comic books or old Disney films. I love that. It really is a beautifully rendered art style. I also like the use of hand drawn animation to represent memories, dreams and visions. It just seems a lot more creative in the way the story is told.
It is a good film, one that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike without having to resort to the least common denominator like X-Men First Class did, having Hugh Jackman show up just to drop an F-Bomb. It doesn’t hold a candle to the original, but it does retain enough of that one and introduce enough of the new to be highly entertaining. It’s a big screen film and worth seeing while it’s still out at the the theater.