Kung Fu Panda 2
Starring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Gary Oldman
Directed by Jennifer Yuh
Rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence
Appropriate for all ages
Po is back as the Dragon Warrior panda who is now the hero of the land. But apparently, years ago, the ruling family of China had a son named Chen whose fortune was told that a panda would be his downfall. Thus, he killed all of the pandas in the land. His parents threw him out of the city, but now he is back and has taken siege of the capital with only Po and his warrior friends to restore peace.
I was one of those surprised people when the first Kung Fu Panda hit theaters. I was getting to the point where Jack Black was starting to become annoying, but the story and production won me over. Now that I find Jack Black to be completely annoying, I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be all that into the panda sequel. That being said, I’m glad I went with an open mind because it wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t as impressive or original as the first, but those are some big shoes to fill.
The first half of this film, to me, felt like filler. It was boring, not very funny, and only there to set up the second half. This is the case with a lot of films, but this one seemed particularly lame at first. But then when the warriors arrived at the capital, things started to shape up and not only did it become more exciting, the humor missing from the first half leaped into action as well. Getting past all of the exposition was tiresome, but if you start to nod off after 45 minutes, don’t worry, you’ll wake back up shortly.
As for Black, he’s not as bad as I expected. There was a time when I really loved him and what he was doing. I went to several Tenacious D concerts and couldn’t wait to see the next big JB movie. But then his seemingly manic presence got on my nerves. It’s as if the world turned on his slap happy button and it never got turned back off. Fortunately for us, Po moves and acts differently. You still get the made up words and silly sayings, but there is more of a softness and humility to Po that makes him bearable. Get it? Bearable? Sorry about that.
So while I didn’t love the movie, I did find it enjoyable at times. It has just enough laughs and action to keep you engaged, especially at the end. I do think the first film targeted both children and adults a little better than this one. While the kids will no doubt have a blast, the parents won’t be blown away.
Just in case you are thinking about going to see this one in 3D, I have to tell you that Kung Fu Panda 2 has the same problem that the new Pirates pic has: it’s too dark for 3D. With those tinted glasses, it makes it very hard to see the nighttime events, and much of the film takes place at night. Also, it dulls the colors, which is one of the things that brings a film like this to life. B-