Friday, May 20, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

As a kid I enjoyed the Saturday morning cartoons like Bugs Bunny, the Smurfs, and the classics from the USA Cartoon Express (e.g. Grape Ape, Jabberjaw, and the Snorks ). I could keep going, but the list of cartoons I watched as a kid while my Pop made waffles is just too long. Cartoons on TV today just don't compare, so the adults that grew up on the good ones are now making movies.

Since the first Kung Fu Panda (2008) was such a hit, I am not surprised that Kung Fu Panda 2 was made and will probably become the next animated franchise like Shrek. Returning to the mix is Jack Black (Panda), Angelina Jolie (Tigress), Seth Rogan (Mantis), Jackie Chan (Monkey), David Cross (Crane) and Lucy Liu (Viper) combining for the Furious Five and led by Dustin Hoffman (Master Shifu). Joining the cast as the signature villain is Gary Oldman as Lord Shen the evil Peacock.

Not sure why, but a lot of movies lately have found it necessary to develop the background story through the use of an animated clip inserted into the film. What is funny to me is the idea of inserting an animated clip into an animated feature. I know that the first Kung Fu Panda film took this approach and it wasn't a surprise when this one did as well. All of that being said, the writing is clever enough to entertain both the kids and the parents. One of the most interesting lines was when Po the Panda is excited about a new mission and is asking Master Shifu if they are going to defeat some pirates. It most certainly was a nudge at the latest Pirates of the Caribbean. A subtle undertone to the film is that of the relationship between a father and his son. With the film coming out a couple weeks prior to Father's Day will make this a great film for any dads with kids to spend a special day together.

Since so many of the films for kids are painful for the parents to watch, the Kung Fu Panda series is quite refreshing. I will give it 3 Quacks and encourage those to enjoy a bucket of popcorn with your kids. The film will likely get nominated for an award or two as the best animated film, but not enough for me to pump up my rating.

(screening date 5/21/11, release date 5/27/11, location AMC Tysons Corner 16)

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