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Kung Fu Panda 2

by

Jeff Nelson

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a film that I highly recommend to families containing people of all ages.

Kung Fu Panda 2
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After being unsure about seeing the first one, I finally caved in and watched it. I was very pleasantly surprised with it and found it to be highly entertaining. I missed Kung Fu Panda 2 on the big screen, but wanted to ensure that I could rent it the day it was released on Blu-ray through Netflix. Even with more appropriate expectations, this sequel still was a nice surprise. It's actually a little bit better than the original film. A lot more occurs in not only the story, but with the characters as well. DreamWorks has certainly stepped up their game in the animation genre.

As the legendary Dragon Warrior, Po, the kung fu panda, guards the Valley of Peace alongside his allies, the Furious Five. When a frightful new enemy emerges, Po and company embark on a dangerous joinery to save China and the art of kung fu. As previously mentioned, the story is expanded upon. While there is a new enemy and a new goal, Kung Fu Panda 2 has quite a few flashbacks. These don't reference to the first movie, but actually informs the audience of Po's past. It's much easier to sympathize for a character when we're able to learn more about his or her past. Viewers are taken quite a bit deeper into Po's character than they were in the original Kung Fu Panda. Speaking of characters, they're much more fleshed out as well. We're introduced to a few new roles, although characters from the first film, other than Po, do return. They each serve his or her purpose to the plot, but this story line is much more about Po than anybody else. In the previous entry, the Furious Five are a big portion of what's going on. In the sequel, they are present but don't posses as much screen time as our lovable panda. The dialogue is nicely written and the pace is tight and smooth. All of the humor is pretty spot-on, although there isn't as much as of it as the more personal story of Po takes the driver's seat. Kung Fu Panda 2 managed to keep my full attention from start to finish as it had my eyes glued to the screen.

When it comes to animation, it's absolutely incredible how detailed it has become over the years. Studios such as DreamWorks and Pixar have truly created beautiful pieces of animation. The clarity is truly amazing and razor sharp. I continued to tell myself in my head how unbelievably clear the picture quality is for this film. The audio is just as impressive. Unfortunately, my pre/pro has issues with some Dolby TrueHD audio tracks, which caused Kung Fu Panda 2 to cut in and out a couple of times. For the most part, the majority of the movie played smoothly. The front stage is crystal clear and is presented with nice effects. The surround channels have plenty of sound to immerse the viewers in this animated universe. The bass is tight and accurate, but isn't very loud. Bass heads may not be as happy with this track as they may have been for the original movie. However, those who want to be in the middle of an accurate and clear sound environment will be highly pleased with this release. This disc is sure to be demo material for many home theater enthusiasts.

I was expecting to enjoy Kung Fu Panda 2, but I didn't imagine that I would prefer it over the original. It's just as entertaining, although it contains a better script with a more personal story line that brings the character of Po closer to the audience. Pixar is known to make damn good animated films, but DreamWorks has proven themselves worthy quite a few times. Kung Fu Panda 2 is a film that I highly recommend to families containing people of all ages.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

Next movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
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