Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)


I was actually thinking that Po could've saved a lot of lives and property damage if he'd just managed to grab hold of Lord Shen's anything, and ska-dooshed him. Just like what he did with Tai Lung in the first movie.

But I digress. If that happened, the movie would just be a little under an hour.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is the first Dreamworks Animations movie that I willingly went to see, and one of the rare ones with substance (the other is the first film). It continues from where we left off, with Po and his friends, the Furious Five maintaining the peace when they receive news that Lord Shen, exiled prince of Gongmen City, has returned to take his throne and conquer China using cannons and gunpowder. We also have a backstory on Po's origins, as an encounter with Shen's minions triggers repressed memories of his childhood (as Shen is tied to his past), and he finally realises that his father (a noodle-making goose) is not his biological father.

Usually, movies fall apart when they try to complicate the storyline (I'm not talking about twists and turns) with minor arcs, but the movie manages to fit in Po's history quite well. The 2D sequences, especially the one using shadow puppets to tell of Shen's background and exile, are beautiful, and the most moving scene in the film would have to be when Po finally remembers his past, with the 2D making way for the 3D when his mother puts him in that radish basket.

KFP2 has a lot more action than the previous movie, with the other animals getting their chance to shine, and a lot more humor to boot. As the film also develops the relationship between Po and Tigress, I'm sure eventually we'll see one falling for the other, amidst an attack from a villainous animal yet to be represented in the movies.

[Have you noticed that the primary villain is always white? Snow leopard, white peacock :)]

Even with the minor arcs, surprisingly the movie didn't feel rushed at all. The end result, though, is that the movie feels longer than its 1.5 hour run-time, but that was totally fine by me.

8.5/10. Can't wait to see what the next one holds.

[Spoiler: Guillermo del Toro is Creative Consultant on this movie. I'm still reeling.]

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