The Movie: 8.5/10
Kung Fu Panda 2 is every bit as much fun as Kung Fu Panda was, which I also reviewed for Ascully.com. Po and the Furious Five return for a slightly more intricate story, as Jack Black reprises his role as the pudgy panda who just so happens to be the Dragon Warrior, who is once agian set to save the land with his group of Kung Fu allies. Tigress, Mantis, Crane, Monkey and Viper are all here to watch Po’s back, as he uses his unorthodox style of fighting to protect the land. He has accepted his fate as the Dragon Warrior, and his role in protecting the innocent, all while keeping his whole sense of humor (and hunger).
This time around, Po is struggling with finding his identity, as he discovers that his father, a goose, is not his real father, and that he was adopted. Po of course is shocked (even though the whole goose/panda thing is obvious to just about everyone else). Thus begins his journey, while at the same time he and the Five are sent on a mission by Master Schifu to find and destroy a weapon created by the evil Lord Shen (a peacock), played by Gary Oldman. The new weapon is supposedly more powerful than even Kung Fu, and it threatens the whole existence of the art form, and the entire land of China.
On their journey, Po has flashes of memories of his childhood, and the memories are somehow tied to Lord Shen and his evil plan. When they finally meet, Lord Shen knows all about Po and his fate, as the two are truly tied together.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is really a good movie. It definitely focuses more on the story, and has a much more emotional feel than the original movie, which appeals more to adults than kids, while at the same time there is enough humor and action to keep the kids entertained. I enjoyed the second movie, even though it took a little while to get going. The voice acting was excellent (again), and the overall style of the movie was again excellent. You kind of just have to wonder how many of these Kung Fu Panda movies we are going to get? If they continue like this one, I am okay with the continuation.
- Kung Fu Panda : Secrets Of The Masters (New Film) – This is a 23 minute long short feature that focuses on some new characters in the movie: Croc, Storming Ox, and Thundering Rhino, who Po obviously looks up to, and are integral to the story.
- The Animators Corner – Focusing on the process of making the movie, this picture-in-picture feature goes in depth on the movie and how the animators brought it to life. This is a nice extra, and worth the watch.
- Animation Inspiration – This section focuses on actual locations in China that the Director and animators used as inspiration for the locations created in the movie. It is a pretty facinating thing to see the comparison here.
- Trivia Track – This is a pop up type of trivia that discusses various aspects of the movie. It is interesting, if not a bit distracting.
- Kickin It With The Cast – This short focuses on the voice actors as they work on the movie. It clocks in at about 13 minutes.
- Deleted Scenes – There are a few scenes that were left out of the movie that are showcased here.
- Panda Stories – This is a cool little 8 minute section on the plight of the endangered panda bear. This is a nice little feature to show kids.
- Kung Fu Shuffle Game – There are two interactive games included on the Blu-ray, and they are defiintely for kids only.
- Ni Hao Learn to Speak Chinese – This is an interactive bit designed to promote and show how to speak basic Madarin Chinese.
- Kung Fu Panda : Legends of Awesomeness – This is a 24 minute short feature which is part of the new Nickelodeon Kung Fu Panda cartoon series. It is a full episode.
- Filmmakers Commentary – Director Jennifer Yuh features on the commentary that goes in depth on a great deal of the movie and it’s development. There is involvement with the production designer Raymond Zibach and head animator Rodolphe Guenoden, as they discuss the movie process.
- & More –
- DVD & Digital Copy – We get both the DVD and the digital version of the movie, which is standard at this point, but appreciated as always.
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
Stylized and bright, the cover and menus for Kung Fu Panda 2 are a continuation of the first, with Po and the gang looking menacing and ready for any fight. Just like the movie, the cover and menus are the perfect fit for this movie, and add a lot to the presentation as a whole.
Audio & Video: 10/10
It does not get any better than this. The 1080p MVC encode at 2.35:1 is fantastic, with insane clarity and color. The action sequences are spectacular, and there are no issues with black levels or ghosting whatsoever. The audio is also spectacular, with a peppy Dolby TrueHD setup that is constantly at work with ambient sounds coming from all directions, mixed with solid music and insane bass and action sequences. This is truly an amazing presentation.
I am a big fan of the Kung Fu Panda series, and this second movie was better than the first. It really is a strong release. The Blu-ray release is spectacular, with a nice mix of extras. This far exceeded my expectations, and the emotional driven story is a nice addition to the humor of the first movie. If you enjoyed the first movie, you will really enjoy this second movie, and let’s be honest – how often can you say the sequel is better than the original?
Overall Score 8.5/10