Kung Fu Panda 2
- Released: Wednesday, 22 June 2011
- Runtime: 88 mins.
Animation film voiced by Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan.
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson. 88mins.
Rated PG (Mild animated violence). IMDb.
In 2008 Kung Fu Panda made $633m worldwide. This worthy sequel premiered on 22nd May this year and has already taken $423m. This film will be a hit here too, though it is not for young children. In fact I am surprised the reason for its PG rating is mild animated violence. I would have thought that the never-ending action and battle sequences warranted a moderate violence note at least. Don't take under eights along.
This time around the story line is much more political. Lord Shen wants to dominate China and so has an insatiable desire for steel in his bid to build up his military might. And the anxiety of an evil Chinese power seeking domination is presented in a darker way too. Does all this sound familiar?
That said, Kung Fu Panda 2 is beautifully realised and, for a change, the 3D production only adds to the wonderful animation. It is a very handsome film indeed. Hans Zimmer's score is near perfect too.
The major and more satisfying shift this time is Po's character development. To deepen his warrior status he does to need to develop his skills, as much go into himself and find peace in regard to the circumstances of his parent's death. The values that underpin this plot line are excellent.
My only major objection to Kung Fu Panda 2 is the continuation of the racist Hollywood stereotype of the really evil character having a British accent, this time Gary Oldman as Lord Shen. That characterization is now so common in US films that it only mildly takes away from the other excellent elements that make this an enjoyable film for older children and adults alike.