2011-05-27

Kung Fu Panda 2 – The Skadoosh Is Still Awesome

by Yo Snyder

Oh yeah. The awesomeness of the Dragon Warrior has returned. While it
may not feel quite as fresh as the first time around, its still a
whole lot of fun to see a cute, cuddly, pudgy panda kick a whole lot of
butt with the power of Kung-Fu. For the most part, you pretty much know
what youre going to get with Kung Fu Panda 2; more of the same
action and humor that made the first movie so much fun. But as is the
case with most sequels, this movie also broadens the scope and raises
the stakes, and does so successfully for the most part. Its still fun
and exciting if a bit familiar and at times underdeveloped.

It should come as a shock to no one that Po is adopted. Mr. Ping, who
by the way is a goose, is not really his father. So what does this mean
for Po, and where did he really come from? These issues are at the core
of Kung Fu Panda 2, and they provide the bulk of momentum in
carrying the story forward and provide its emotional core. However, this
isnt a Pixar film, so dont think this story is any more moving or
deep than the last. Some characters get more lines and moments to shine,
like Tigress, but that doesnt mean theyre any more developed than
they were in the last movie either. Except for Mr. Ping, who has several
of the best moments in the film and is voiced by the excellent James
Hong. The background of Pos story may provided much of the genesis for
this movie, but it mainly provides moments of respite between the
awesome action sequences and gives the bad guy a reason touh, well, do
all of his bad guy stuff.

Jack Black brings the same level of fun and charm to the part of Po
as he did in the first movie. Part of what makes the character so
endearing is the way he continually remains in awe of all that takes
place around him. He may be the Dragon Warrior, but that doesnt mean he
still doesnt get excited to see his heroes, the Furious Five, in
action or that he doesnt love the fact that hes doing what he always
dreamed of doing; bringing justice with epic Kung Fu. While the Five do
get a little more screen time, especially Tigress, they still arent
much more than glorified props for Po. Gary Oldman, however, truly
shines as the evil Lord Shen, perfectly giving voice to what youd think
an evil peacock would sound likeassuming that, you know, youd ever
thought about a peacock being evil and trying to take over the world.

He is searching for the same thing Po is, and the same thing master
Shifu wanted to find in the first movie; inner peace. Well actually,
Shen wants to destroy Kung Fu because he cant find inner peace, which
is a fairly common problem. Many of us would like inner peace, but we
dont know how to get it. Maybe if we work hard enough or meditate long
enough or are good enough, then inner peace will be attained.
Unfortunately it doesnt really work like that; its not what you do,
its who you know. The Bible calls God the God of Peace. Why? Because
only he can banish from our lives all those things that rob us of peace.
Fear, anxiety, worry, doubt; they all disappear when we trust in a
holy, just, loving, powerful, all-knowing God. He wants us to have
peace, and we get that peace when we simply learn to trust in him. Now
Im not sure it will help us repel cannon balls, but there are plenty of
way cool things in store for us when we find peace with God. In fact,
it will bring the very thing Po and Shen needed most; healing. The past
leaves scars, peace can heal those scars, and peace with God will also
give us hope for the future.

Kung Fu Panda 2 has exactly what Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
doesnt; action thats fun and enjoyable. While the action sequences in
Pirates felt very rote, the ones in Panda were thrilling, creative,
entertaining and fun to behold. While overall this is a bit darker of a
movie than the last, it was able to retain the fun and whimsy that made
the first so enjoyable; which is something that not every sequel can do
(again, reference Pirates 4). If you enjoyed the first movie, Kung Fu Panda 2
delivers exactly what youd want; more of that same fun and bigger
action with the same heart. If only all sequels could do so much.

Guide Rating: 5/7