Kung Fu Panda 2

(2011)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation

Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

Transcript for Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
 Well, KUNG FU PANDA 2 might just sound like a random string of unrelated words, but it actually happens to be our next film – and the latest from Dreamworks Animation. The sequel to the studio’s 2009 hit, it continues the story of Po, a Panda voiced again by Jack Black, who lives in a version of medieval China that’s populated by animals who all also talk with the voices of American celebrities. Po has proven his bravery and mastered the art of kung fu, though he still thinks mostly about food.
 
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Shen, a villainous peacock—there are two words I never thought I’d say together—discovers gunpowder and uses it to conquer a city. Po and his fellow kung fu warriors must infiltrate Shen’s stronghold and put an end to his plans.
 
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In the meantime, Po must also struggle to find the ever-elusive “inner peace,” which his master voiced by Dustin Hoffman tells him is the next step for a kung fu warrior.  
 
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KUNG FU PANDA 2 is zippy, it’s lively, it’s punchy, it’s got moxie—whatever phrase you wanna use, this movie’s got a lot of energy, and you can see it in the quick pace, in the imaginative action scenes and the snappy gags. Sure, some of the voices are miscast and the movie’s message about coming to terms with the past is nothing that hasn’t been said better elsewhere, but the sheer liveliness of the animation—which includes hand-drawn scenes in addition to the computer-generated stuff—more than makes up for it.

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Yeah, I’m going to say thumbs down. It is very beautiful, and it is in 3D like everything is in 3D. And so there is some of that…

IGNATIY:
So why do you have a thumbs down if it’s beautiful, okay.

CHRISTY:
Well, here, this is one thing of many, many things going on here in Kung Fu Panda 2. It’s very tactile. I actually prefer the hand drawn animation stuff to all of the CGI, reach out and touch the fur kind of stuff. But, there’s two different stories going on here. You have Jack Black’s character going back to find out who is parents are, then you have this megalomaniacal, fascist peacock, who is hell bent on dominating China. And yes, there is a place where those two stories intersect, but they never really mesh for me, they don’t really work for me.

IGNATIY:
Well, you know, one of those is called a subplot. They don’t really have to…

CHRISTY:
No, they’re totally equal. Neither is sub to the other. They are totally equal, parallel things on a collision course with each other.

IGNATIY:
And that somehow…

CHRISTY:
They never work here, they never worked here. I would do one or the either. They never work together, um.

IGNATIY:
You feel that a film called Kung Fu Panda 2 has too much plot?

CHRISTY:
I would like a minimalist Kung Fu Panda 2, yes. Kung Fu Panda 1 1/2 maybe, but the thing with the peacock, voiced by Gary Oldman..

IGNATIY:
Because apparently Jeremy Irons was busy.

CHRISTY:
As was Jason Statham, apparently, but I think it’s too scary for little kids. It’s really dark and really violent and little kids in my screening were either A) sitting on mommy’s lap and hiding their eyes or B) they had to go leave the theater.

IGNATIY:
It’s no, it’s no more violent than any of the, say, Scar stuff in The Lion King. I mean it’s not a

CHRISTY:
I mean, but really little kids like four or five.

IGNATIY:
I mean, it’s not a kids movie without, you know, you can’t make a kids movie without having something that will theoretically traumatize someone. It’s a key ingredient.

CHRISTY:
Yeah, yeah. This did not work for me.