Sunday, May 29, 2011

Movie Reviews: Kung Fu Panda 2

Wow, this is the first serious movie review post I'm actually doing in months. Try as I might, I could never really find a good reason to properly review the previous movie I watched in theaters; that being Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Everything about that film just left me utterly disappointed, and while Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) did try to use his charismatic charms to win over audiences, it paled in comparison to the previous Pirate films, especially in terms of story cohesion and action. All things considered, I really felt the movie was forced and dragged on too much before we got anything decent to enjoy about it. This sequel had little to no redeeming qualities to it, and it surprises me why it HAD to be made at all. Not all sequels are bad, but this one takes the cake for "most disappointing" I've seen so far this year.

On the other hand, Kung Fu Panda 2 shines out like a diamond, and Jack Black and his ensemble cast of costars do more than make this fantastic sequel. They made this a fantastic sequel of AWESOMENESS!

Movie: Kung Fu Panda 2

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jacky Chan, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Seth Rogen, Michelle Yeoh, James Hong

Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Certainly another instant classic for the caravan of people looking for some well-rounded family movie goodness, Kung Fu Panda 2 is definitely a must see for fans of the first film and newbies who have yet to experience the "Skadoosh" that Po the Panda (Jack Black) and his mighty Kung Fu friends share in the big screen. The sequel explores more of the fat Dragon Warrior's origins, and introduces him to a new threat in the form of Lord Shen (voiced by Gary Oldman), a the heir peacock prince of China who was cast out from his home due to an unforgivable incident that ties directly to Po's past. When Shen returns and wrecks havoc in the Valley of Peace and Gongmen City, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) sends Po and the Furious Five to the rescue, only for Po to freeze at certain instances when he recognizes a symbol belonging to Lord Shen that causes his repressed memories to surface. Confused and determined to find out the truth about his past, Po joins the Five in a race to save the capital, as Lord Shen holds a mysterious powerful weapon that could spell the end of Kung Fu.

Kung Fu Panda 2 Theatrical Trailer

Without giving away too much, all I can say is it's been a damn good wait to see this movie and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it. Back in 2008, Kung Fu Panda blew me away with its dynamic 3D animation and superbly written story that it was hard not to count it as one of my favorite movies for that year (next to Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, and The Dark Knight). This sequel proves no different in expectations, and delivers much more excitement, intensity, and hilarious moments from the cast at hand. Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jacky Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Michelle Yeoh, and James Hong return to their respective roles in the movie, and they shine out as completely as they did before (especially Jolie's rle as Master Tigress, who gets more screen time as Po's closest confidant in the Five). Gary Oldman plays the role of villain once more as Lord Shen, and given how audacious and intimidating he can be on those types of roles, I wouldn't expect anything less but perfection from him, and he deliver alright. It was also a surprise to see Jean-Claude Van Damme among the line up for this movie, as he lends his voice to Master Croc of the Kung Fu Council. This all star power adds credence to what is already a fantastically animated film, and while majority of it is in 3D, there are stellar 2D animated sequences to that highlight Po's past with beauty. Oh, and the writing is simply cohesive and brilliant. Never have I felt laughter, sadness, and kung pow fury roll into an animated film so smoothly as this. I am impressed, DreamWorks Animation!

With all that said and needed to be said, Kung Fu Panda 2 is certainly the family-oriented animated treat kids and adults alike deserve and definitely need to see. I may get repetitious with my praising for this sequel, but I was highly impressed by the production values and time given to make this movie as awesome if not better than the first. Another sequel will certainly be in line after this, and I can't see why the studio wouldn't allow it either. Awesomeness is here, and the Panda and his posse deliver!

Rating - 5/5

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