REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 2

Identically similar to before the release of the first Kung Fu Panda film, the sequel was released when DreamWorks Animation provided us with animated features that may have had a colorful and delightful approach and been successful at the box office, but with the exception of How To Train Your Dragon, had resulted in mixed critical response. The trailer ofKung Fu Panda 2 looked promising and we got yet another entertaining ride for families and individuals of all ages to enjoy. However, this time, the sequel went somewhere a little different than its predecessor as it added more emotional drama to the story. Therefore, as well as fun action and hilarious jokes, Kung Fu Panda 2 was a very touching sequel.

Although she has worked with DreamWorks Animation on a number of projects over the years, South Korean film director Jennifer Yuh makes her directorial debut withKung Fu Panda 2. Yuh gives us all of the excitement, the magic and the comedy that Mark Osborne and John Stevenson provided and, therefore, we experienced in the predecessor back in 2008. However, there was something a little more to the sequel. It surprisingly became a very moving and thought-provoking story with a meaningful and tender message, which will affect adult and child audiences alike. Furthermore, this sequel is a tad darker, story-wise too, and it revealed a few hidden secrets that has opened up Kung Fu Panda as a franchise.

Jack Black reprised his role as the big, fat panda Po. He has proved himself worthy as the Dragon Warrior and has ultimately fulfilled his dream. However, he has another enemy to face off against, but the story of Po’s past comes to haunt him. Po had already become an inspiration in the first film but in the sequel, we saw a slightly different Po this time around. It wasn’t so much Jack Black playing a panda, but Po was ultimately a character on his own. Therefore, we are with him along his emotional and courageous quest to find out the truth of his past.

Dustin Hoffman returned to providing the voice of Yoda-like kung fu master, Shifu, although he wasn’t quite so involved in the sequel as the predecessor. Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, David Cross and Lucy Liu in their roles too as members of the Furious Five, Po’s colleagues and Shifu’s protégés. Furthermore, in many sequels, we are welcomed with another group of actors who make regular appearances. With Ian McShane having previously provided the voice of antagonist Tai Lung, a snow leopard, in the predecessor, we now have Gary Oldman in the role of the second primary villain. He portrayed the sinister Lord Shen, a leucistic peacock, who provided a very evil and sinister performance. Finally, action heroes Jean-Claude Van Damme and Michelle Yeoh made their presence known in Kung Fu Panda 2 by featuring briefly in supporting roles – Master Croc and Soothsayer.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a sequel that does not come round the corner very often as it fantastically jumbles the dark and emotional concepts of drama with the fun action, hilarious laughs and deeply lovable characters. Being able to choose which of the first two Kung Fu Panda films was better is an awkward question with no answer. This is because both are better than the other in opposing ways. Nevertheless, now that we have had two successful but almost opposing chapters in the series and after that cliff-hanger ending in the sequel, it has opened up the possibility of a franchise consisting of many new instalments and characters that could be in store for us in the near future.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 08/06/2012.

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