PG – 90mins – Animation/Action/Adventure – 10th June 2011
Po (Jack Black) returns in another kung fu animation adventure which sees our ever hungry panda face up to a new and devastating threat in the form of angry albino peacock (Gary Oldman) Lord Shen. Having been cast out by his parents years before for his atrocities, Shen has been biding his time returning with a new technology that threatens to enable him to conquer China.
Po is joined once again with the Furious Five as well as a few new characters to try and save not only the local people but also the very fabric of kung fu and all that it stands for. Aside all of this, we also learn about the childhood of Po and how he came to be at the doorstep of Mr. Ping (James Hong) and his noodle restaurant.
This film definitely takes on a darker feel when compared to the first and will surely give the younger kids in the audience something to keep them awake at night. It also has more packed into its story with extra depth and variety than the first did not necessarily have ie. lineage and upbringing and the effect that has on us as adults.
The animation is fantastic and despite not hitting the heights of a Pixar movie is up there with some of the best that I have seen to date. My favourite scenes are the fighting scenes in particular one where they are assaulting Shen’s stronghold. The combination of action with the impressive visuals drags you right into the fight alongside the characters.
Po can get a bit annoying/repetitive at some points as the Jack Black from within is released and a torrent of ‘awesome’ and similar such catchphrases are rattled off one after the other but this did seem to be toned down slightly from his usual self so I began to think of Po as Po rather than Black in a panda costume.
I think this is a case of the sequel running the original very close and I would be hard pushed to say which one I preferred. Whereas the first was original and purely a kids flick this builds strongly on the first opening it to a wider audience with more of a slapstick feel to it which has me just siding with this one as the better of the two. Why don’t you make up your own minds as it’s definitely worth a watch on the big screen.