Kung Fu Panda 2 : Movie Review

In 2008, the original Kung Fu Panda movie came to theaters.  When I saw the movie, I felt like something was missing from it, yet it was still somewhat enjoyable.  I did not see the movie again until recently when my nephews started to watch the movie. I did find it had that appeal that when the movie was on I would stop to watch it for a bit.

When the news came out that Kung Fu Panda was having a sequel, I did not find myself really jumping up and down wanting to see the movie as I remember that missing feeling that came from the original film.  Little did I realize how much I would enjoy the movie.

Kung Fu Panda 2 starts off with the back story of the new villain, a prince who had evil within him.  The young prince learns of a prediction in which he will be defeated by a white and black warrior. To prove this wrong, he goes out and has all the pandas that he knows of killed, wiping out entire villages.  Once he returns, he is proud of himself, while his parents are disappointed with their son’s actions and banish him.  Time passes to the present and the prince, Lord Shen, still has his army and are building a weapon that can defeat Kung Fu, as he plans to take his spot as king where he feels he rightly belongs.

Po, the Dragon Warrior, has now become a part of the fighting team.  We see them relaxed for only a few minutes before their home village is attacked by Lord Shen’s army, who are after metal to use for the weapon that’s being built.  The Furious Five go down to protect the village, where everyone can see just how much Po has advanced from the first movie.  The fight is impressive, well animated, and just a huge leap from the first movie.  At this point, I personally realized there could be more to this movie than the original.

The story goes on to find out that Lord Shen does finish this weapon and moves in to his old home palace taking down the Kung Fu warriors that guard the place.  Po and the Furious Five are to go stop Lord Shen.  During the mission, Po starts to realize things he did not know about himself such as where he’s from and how he got into the life he has now.  Once Po does face Lord Shen, he realizes that Lord Shen was there the last day he saw his real mom and dad and the story starts to come together.

The characters were all well done, as the Furious Five seem to have more of a role in this movie.  They worked well together and had character growth.  The action, the comedy, and plot all meshed together very well.

The CGI in this movie seemed really well done and was okay as a 3D movie.  Though I do not feel the need to see the movie in 3D again, as there are no scenes where the movie screamed out ‘I must be in 3D’.  Though I would like to see the movie again when it comes on DVD, as it is a fun action packed movie.

Just like the original movie, the cast list is filled with known actors with Jack Black returning as the leading role of Po, there were also Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen.  While they did good for the voices, it’s sad when a movie feels as if they need star actors to sell their story.  There are a lot of really talented voice actors out there, who make a living off of using their voices.  So to me, an all-star cast does not make or break the movie.

The writers of the first movie Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger return to work on Kung Fu Panda 2, though they did bring in a new director for this movie.  We have Jennifer Yuh as the new director.  Jennifer did work on the original Kung Fu Panda as well, though as a story artist.  One of my favorite movies that she has worked on was as a storyboard artist on 2002 “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”.  This is the second time she’s been a director as she’s also directed the 1997 TV series “Spawn”.  With this being her first movie credit for directing I felt she did a great job and hope to see her name in the director spot for future films.

Overall, I felt this movie is worth seeing again and I hope that everyone who does go, enjoys it as much as I did.  I recommend this to anyone who enjoys CGI movies with talking animals or to people who like a good action movie with a lot of fight scenes.  Though this is a family friendly movie, so don’t go looking for any gore or swearing.  They keep it fun and enjoyable.

Entertainment Earth