My first exposure to Kung Fu Panda was watching it with my two young nieces when I had rented the movie on DVD to entertain them one afternoon. With many of these animated features primarily made for kids, I can often sit through them but can’t honestly say I would go to the theater to pay to see them without kids. To my pleasant surprise, that was not the case with Kung Fu Panda. I found myself really liking it and when the kids wanted to watch it 20 more times (like they always do with these movies), I found myself wanting to watch it with them each and every time.
Now flash-forward to this week, were I was presented with the opportunity to see a screening of the sequel. Because I enjoyed the first one so much, I found myself looking forward to seeing it but would I come out happy or disappointed which often seems the case with sequels?
Let me tell you I came out HAPPY. This one was every bit as good as the first and in some cases even better. The story of the movie delves into the origins of our Kung Fu hero Po (Jack Black) who has been excelling as the Dragon Warrior and has become quite the hero to everyone including his father since we last saw him. However one thing has eluded him: inner-peace and the answers that plague many adopted folk, who are his real parents?
The movie perhaps is a little more action oriented and a little less character driven than the first, but truth-be-told that will likely keep your kids more into the movie and the humor you came to expect from the first movie is definitely there.
All your favorite characters return including the Fab 5 Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross), and Po’s mentor Mr. Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) as well as some new great characters such as Master Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and the villain for this one, the evil Peacock that goes by the name Lord Chen (Gary Oldman) who holds all the secrets to Po’s past.
This one is also done in 3D which, like with most 3D animated films, does actually add to the viewing enjoyment of the film opposed to live-action 3D flicks which tend to be more of a distraction than a plus. I also thought many of the flashback scenes that depict Po as a young Panda were very well done. Po was a very cute baby and I like how the animators portrayed these scenes with more of a classic animation look then the more modern stuff we see in the rest of the film.
This weekend, if you are looking for a movie that the entire family can and will enjoy then I highly recommend you go check out Kung Fu Panda. Skadooosh!!!!!!!