You may not agree with me, but in my opinion, Kung Fu Panda 2 is even funnier than the first installment. No, I don’t mean the first one was not funny. In fact, both of them are very entertaining, and the good thing is that the second one is better than the first, as that is a rare trace in Hollywood movies.
The movie started off as a sequel, with Po and the Furious Five becoming guardians and protectors for the city, fending off all the attacks and ensuring peace and security. With their martial art skills, that is surely no problem. However, we soon found out that their skills would be tested against much more brutal and dangerous forces brought by the feared Lord Shen, who came back from exile with his own army and the desire to rule the whole China, and consequently the world.
Ok, so we have worthy enemy, and a good cause, and a potential for battles and fights. That is quite sufficient for an animated movie. Fortunately, the producers did not stop at that, but took pain to develop the story further, digging to the fact that Po’s Dad was a goose, not a panda, and hence made a deeper movie. It quickly turned into a prequel within a sequel, something like Wolverine’s story within X-Men. That is a nice extra touch, as it gives the movie a great depth and give viewers more things to ponder and more surprises to unfold.
Kung Fun Panda 1 was not meant for Oscar glory, and I believe the same for the second movie. However, that does not prevent the movie from being interesting and entertaining and lovely. Although the story turned more serious, it did not sacrifice on entertaining value. There were still a great deal of funny scenes, especially with Po’s belly. And after watching this movie, we have a new catchphrase: “Inner Peace”.
In terms of visual quality, this movie was even better than the first, with more efforts into the construction of the characters. There was a 3D version as well, but having encountered not so good experience with 3D movies previously, I opted for the 2D version instead. In my opinion, 2D was enough, as the images were really sharp and my brain did not have to keep processing the manufactured 3D effects until turning tired.
In terms of cast, there were more big names, such as Gary Oldman, who lent his voice to Lord Shen. In fact, I am not too concerned about that, unless the voice is too distracting, such as Reese Witherspoon in Monsters vs Aliens, or the guy has too poor English command, which should not be the case since the producers have poured in too much money to risk seeing the project fail because of such stupid detail. I am fine with not so famous actors lending their voices to the characters, as long as they do their jobs well. Save money for the effects, the characters and the scenes. That would be money well spent, unless you need someone to sing in the movie, which is very rare in animations nowadays.
Overall, this is a good, funny film that the whole family can enjoy together. There are deaths, but they are not brutal, and the movie ends well, so kids will not leave the cinema in tears, but laughter. For me, I am looking forward to the third movie. Hopefully they will make it, and it seems that they will do so, given the loose end after the credits.
As usual, more photos after the jump: