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Kung Fu Panda 2 (DVD)
Member Name: pmcds
Kung Fu Panda 2 (DVD)
Advantages: Entertaining action; animation excellent
Disadvantages: Nothing suprising or overly impressive
One of the trickiest things in cinema seems to be to produce a brilliant sequel to a great animated film. Lion King 2, Mulan 2, etc - none of these are particularly good, and the main reason is the novelty value. Animated films have a lot of their power in originality as they often appeal mainly to the younger generations in terms of target audience. So, the prospect of a sequel to the immensely enjoyable Kung Fu Panda was exciting, but I wasn't holding my breath.
The film follows a similar vein to that of the first in that there is an uber-villain that the good guys have to defeat. Whereas the first film saw the emergence of Po the hungry Panda as the unlikely chosen one, this doesn't have that extra plot strain to it, focusing solely on the reemergence of one of the eastern world's oldest villains, with the voice of Gary Oldman replacing the villainous tones of Ian McShane from the first film. The important was to give us something new, and although this does happen at various intervals, you never feel as if they're going to surpass the first film.
There are quite a few cool moments, and when my son and I went to watch it in the cinema, we were both easily entertained and came out having thoroughly enjoyed it. The kung fu action is once again impressive and excellently choreographed and transferred onto the animated screen, with Jack Black's Po coming out with some more funny one liners. There are some new and exciting characters, mainly old kung fu masters, ones we haven't explored yet because the first film had a rather restricted plot line. However, this sequel opens it all up, and as a result we're let loose on by a wide range of newbies. The majority of them impress, although again - the curse of the sequel means that there are no surprises. A gorilla or rhino kung fu master lose their impetus on the audience when you've already had a plethora of animals and action in the first film.
This isn't to say it's bad in any way - I'd still highly recommend it and the chances are your child will also feel the same. Were it a film on its own then the action and characters would end up getting this higher ratings and better reviews. The thing is that a sequel needs to do something different, and while this does make strong attempts to do so, there are always going to be comparisons, and the first film was so new and original and funny that this one was fighting an uphill battle from the start. The famous voices return, with David Cross, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Dustin Hoffman being joined by Michelle Yeoh, Dennis Haysbert and Jean Claude Van Damme amongst others. There are no shortage of famous voices here.
But it's just not enough. We enjoyed ourselves, and some of the action and adventure is excellent, but I had a permanent feeling of repetition throughout, and nothing came as much of a surprise to be honest. Your child will likely rate this a lot higher than me, and I suppose it's their opinion that counts more when it comes to something targeted at them, but for an adult looking for something special in a sequel, it fell just short of the mark. Recommended, but don't expect brilliance.
Summary: Hard to follow the first film: Kung Fu Panda shows just how hard