A lot beefier story this time around; something elevated this to a much more enjoyable film than the first. Abundant laughs, faster action, and graphics worthy of the 3D glasses also made this one I would recommend for families to check out.
The name Po and the Furious 5 sounds like an early 80’s rap group. But as any non-animated human under the age of 12 will tell you, it is actually a kick butt Panda and his martial arts buddies. And they are all back in action for KUNG FU PANDA 2. I found very little in the 2008 release of Kung Fu Panda to make me anxious for a second helping and in fact didn’t care for it at all. The characters were flat and the story line offered nothing engaging. So I went into this one with zero expectations. But as Confucius says, “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”
In this adventure, Po (Jack Black) is called upon to help defeat an enemy set on over taking all of China with force. Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) was banished years earlier and is back with a deadly weapon that no Kung Fu master can stand up to. In addition he seems to hold clues to Po’s past that Po desperately wants to know. So together with Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross) Po faces personal, physical, and emotional struggles. Pretty deep for an animated movie about a pants wearing, punch throwing Panda.
Possibly due to new director Jennifer Yuh or maybe that the screenwriters developed a lot beefier story this time around; something elevated this to a much more enjoyable film than the first. Abundant laughs, faster action, and graphics worthy of the 3D glasses also made this one I would recommend for families to check out. Sure the core audience will be the 11 and under crowd but this at least has elements that all ages can latch on to and enjoy. Along the way Po has to find his inner peace. It is only then he can conquer his adversaries; both inside and out. Not a bad rule of thumb for any of us. Also his coming to terms with his past is heartwarming and emotional. Also, I loved the way this film looked. The colors and depth of architecture really utilized the big screen. The animated backdrop of China is brilliantly displayed and defined.
Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence KUNG FU PANDA 2 is safe, and this time around, fun for the whole family. There is a goat that can foretell the future by looking in a bowl. If you are worried about that warping your kid, wait until he get’s into middle school! The naïve nature that Black brings to Po really shines in this one. He is the Dragon Warrior but it never goes to his head. He is still just excited to be with these great masters of martial arts. It is in these moments that the film truly shines and brings the heartiest laughs. I give it 4 out of 5 noodle bowls. Sure it isn’t award winning cinematography and you have very little reason to go without a kid in tow. But for the genre it scores high and to create a sequel that is even better than the first is always noteworthy.
Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.