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Kung Fu Panda 2
- Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
- Release Date: May 2011
- Run Time: 91
- Genre: Action & Adventure, Animation, Kids & Family, Comedy
Animation can get a film through its low points with an adult audience, while the kids move and groove to the would-be machinations of animals that can perform the skills of martial artists. Uh, ya, right! I almost walked out of “Kung Fu Panda 2.” I survived KFP 1 because I thought there wouldn’t be a KFP2. There shouldn’t have been a KFP2. Great animation or not, the plot was just too thin for a grown-up who paid his $14.00. (You may be asking why. Yes, yes. I paid. I can’t go into it right now.)
Jack Black is the voice of “Po” once again. He has become so incredibly mainstream since his esoteric “Nacho Libre” days. Anyhow, his character has become confused- he is somewhere between kung fu tough and a donut-loving sissy. Hard to tell. And that doesn’t make for the proper tension with the movie’s villain “Shen” played by master thespian Gary Oldman.
Everything bad works about Shen’s character: except Shen is a peacock. I’m sorry. That doesn’t inspire fear in Daddy or the least amount of dread. There just isn’t any spark in this movie. The animation saved it from me going to the door, walking back through the lobby to demand a refund. The animation is sensational. But the story went poof!
Even Dustin Hoffman can’t save the story, which goes to great lengths to involve us in the lives of Po and Shen- seemingly two opposing forces. But the writers decide they are both castaway offspring. Shen was abandoned and Po was raised by a geese (is that like being raised by Belgians?). It is quite laborious until the final piece of the film barrels along to a fine, exhilarating finish- sort of. The film has a difficult time leaving its predictability behind. Animation helped it. But predictability killed it for me. Kung Fu Panda 2 never really gets off the ground even though the little ones watching never sat down.
Martial arts intrigue people. Bad story lines can be tolerated. Come to think of it, animated martial arts was the hypnotic element of the film that makes the brain forget- the story was non-existently unimportant. Kiiiiiii-YAHHHH! Take that you grown up!