[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B005A5YY1G][/pullquote] Kung Fu Panda was released by Dreamworks in 2008 to critical and commercial success. It’s sequel Kung Fu Panda 2 was released May 26th 2011 and reintroduces to ˜The Dragon Warrior’ Po (Jack Black) and his gang of kung fu experts. This time the team must venture to Gongmen City to try and stop the evil peacock Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) from conquering all of China with his new weapons that threaten to make kung fu obsolete. Po also learns that he is adopted and tries to find out what events lead to him being raised by Mr. Ping (James Hong).
As with the first instalment, the artwork is stunningly designed with ancient China looking beautiful and stylised. The design of all the animals is unique and engrossing, with every strand of hair or fur beautifully crafted. The action scenes are fast paced with plenty of jokes in amongst the fighting which help to add to the overall sense of fun. The voice-actors are also well cast with each of them playing their characters with good comic timing whilst being able to bring a sense of drama to proceedings when necessary.
The plot is standard fare which combines an origins story with an ˜evil overlord’ motif. It zips along at a reasonable pace, but some of the middle scenes seem too long and dragged out before the explosive finale kicks it up a notch again. It’s a shame, but little more time spent with Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) would have been nice, but there’s clearly too many big-named stars to squeeze in, so somebody had to miss out.
With a combination of luscious visual effects, a who’s who of celebrity voices and a plot that is engaging and thought-provoking, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a worthy follow-up to it’s predecessor.