Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

For the most part, I’m not the biggest fan of Dreamworks Animation movies.  They tend to just be riffs or ripoffs of Pixar movies without someone having the good sense to say “Now wait, this doesn’t make sense.” (See Robots, Shark Tale, etc. for examples.  Actually, don’t see them and trust me.)  That being said, I really didn’t mind the first Kung Fu Panda movie, aside from wishing that they reined in Jack Black’s madcappery just a tonne.  I thought it was alright, looked gorgeous, had a solid vocal cast and while yes, it did included clothed talking animals, in the context of the film it made sense and I suppose if I really thought about it, no, it doesn’t make sense because how did animals create Kung Fu?

Nevertheless, I felt no strong feelings one way or the another when it was announced that there would be a sequel, because of course there would be a sequel.  People ate that shit up.  In fact, I didn’t even bother reading up on the new additions to the cast, so it surprised me pleasantly when I heard Dennis Haysbert’s distinctive tone.  But I couldn’t place Lord Shen, and it turns out it was the awesome Gary Oldman, and that is A Good Thing.

The animation is fast and fluid and really is gorgeous.  The action scenes are ridiculous but also seem to respect the actual Kung Fu-ness of the discipline.  The madcappery of Jack Black is still there, but as the character of Po grows, he seems to be toning it down enough to be tolerable.  It kind of blows my mind that for the first year in who knows how long, the best animated picture of the year won’t be a Pixar movie, with this one and Rango currently being front-runners for that lofty title (in my books).

It’s a sequel that surpasses the original, and there’s enough goofy stuff in it to entertain youngsters too.

4 / 5

 

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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