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KUNG FU PANDA 2 (2011)

>> Monday, May 30, 2011

Kung Fu Panda Boo...

ung Fu Panda (the first one) was at the very least an interesting enough concept. While I'm not the biggest fan of Jack Black as he seems to repeat the same shtick, the first movie entertained me enough that I would have at least recommended it when asked. Kung Fu Panda 2 on the other hand, is a movie that I feel didn't need to exist. In a year with a record-breaking amount of sequels, I can't help but feel that Dreamworks was only looking to cash in on the franchise cow that all movies seem to be on board for. It's no longer about just making one movie - but rather as many as possible. Chances are, when a studio is offered a film these days they'll ask themselves if a sequel is a possibility, even before the film is released. Later on this year we'll see Hugh Jackman in Real Steel, a film about robot counterparts who box. The studio that's produced Real Steel likes enough of what it's seen to already start talks about a sequel - that studio by the way also happens to be Dreamworks.

Panda 2 is a half origin story about Po (Black), a panda who in the first film learned he was the coveted Dragon Warrior. This story focuses on where he came from and the bad guy responsible for Po's separation from his parents - Shen (Gary Oldman). Shen wants to take over the world and was told once upon a time via a fortune teller that a panda would be responsible for his demise. Shen then had all the pandas killed off forcing Po's mother to abandon him in a box of radishes.

While Panda 2 does a nice job tying itself to the first one (as well as setting up a third film), as aforementioned it seems unnecessary. There's less of a journey for Po and Panda 2 seems to try less hard to please the viewer, as if implicating that because there was a first movie already there's no need to try anything new here or build upon Panda 1. We also get far less time with any characters other than Po than we did in the first movie. Call me asinine, but I wanted to learn a little bit more about the other members of the Furious Five - who include animals voiced by wasted talents such as Angelina Jolie, David Cross and Jackie Chan, to name a few.

Kung Fu Panda 2 gets a closed door. I wasn't out to hate the movie from the beginning and I'm still not. It just didn't do it for me as I was hoping to be a bit more surprised and just simply didn't feel anything. This time around if an individual came up to me to ask if I would recommend this film, I'm afraid the answer would have to be a plain and simple "no".

*Stills courtesy of Dreamworks Animation


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