Sunday, May 29, 2011


Dreanworks Animation
Voices: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Angelina Jolie
Running Time: 1 hr 31 minutes
Rated PG


"Bear in mind" (pun intended) Kung-Fu Panda 2 is a kids movie and while packaged for the whole family, the film falls short of the original in humor, originality, and heart. I am not going to lie, I was super stoked to see this (I being a 30 years old male wearing a G.I. Joe shirt) and while the film made me smile; it never brought out a vocal laugh from my generally "easy to please" lungs.

KFP2, for those who love anagrams, begins where the first film left off. PO (voiced by the often annoying but pleasantly tolerable as a voice actor here, Jack Black)is continuing his journey as a Dragon Warrior, alongside the Furious Five (including Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Jackie Chan as Monkey, and Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu). Po begins to question where he came from and being a Panda, it is a wonder he never questioned the fact his father was a goose before. I guess, he was too busy consuming all those noodles! Po's father tells him he is adopted but there is little that he knows, only he found him in a crate of radishes. PO is ever so hungry for the truth, among other things, and alongside side the Furious Five sets off on a quest for the truth.

Meanwhile, a ruthless peacock (Yeah...pretty scary) Lord Shen (voiced by Gary Oldman) is invading villages in search of pieces to put together a disastrous cannon to rule all of China. Of course, Lord Shen is about to meet the bumbling wrath of Po and the Furious Five. But does Po and Shen share a common bond? Will Po learn the truth about his parents? Will the Furious Five defeat Lord Shen and his Hench "animals"? Will Po eat a bounty of noodles, fall, and crack semi-amusing lines such as "My fist hungers for Justice!"? You will have to wait and see!

The animation is splendid as it weaves from standard, dazzling CG to 3D cut outs to paying homage to the martial arts through bright color and dark lighting. The sweeping score from the original film reprises as a backdrop for yet another fun kung-fu adventure. The voice actors are on top of their game and give their characters life (mainly Black and Oldman). The film starts off promising with Po's habitual clumsy antics but without a powerful villain and zany laughs, the movie begins to stall. The film still registers as cuddly cute, teetering on generic if you are not under the age of ten, but wears on the older crowd until the touching last reel. There is a valuable lesson for kids as "knowing who you are and staying true to your own can overcome anything." (Cue shooting star: The More You Know!) Seriously, little ones should eat KFP2 up like a bowl full of noodles but unlike the first Kung-Fu Panda, Shrek, and the beautiful How to Train Your Dragon; there is little humor for adults. Favorite line: "Tell those villains to start playing action music, because it is on!"

Overall, I am trying not to be too critical as Kung-Fu Panda 2 does its job on the scale of cute but is nowhere near as entertaining as last years Tangled, Despicable Me, or Toy Story 3.

-Mike Hufford

Stayed tuned later on in the week for my "adult" review of Hangover 2 and Scar 3D!!!

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