Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Kung Fu Panda 2 (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG

Starring:
Jack Black as Po (voice)
Angelina Jolie as Tigress (voice)
Gary Oldman as Lord Shen (voice)
Seth Rogen as Mantis (voice)
Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Croc (voice)
Jackie Chan as Monkey (voice)
Dustin Hoffman as Shifu (voice)
David Cross as Crane (voice)
Lucy Liu as Viper (voice)
Michelle Yeoh as The Soothsayer (voice)
Dennis Haysbert as Master Oxen (voice)
Victor Garber as Master Thundering Rhino (voice)
James Hong as Mr. Ping (voice)

Directed by Jennifer Yuh

Special Features:

Disc One (HD)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 movie
- An all-new Po adventure, Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters
- Sneak peek episode of the upcoming Nickelodeon TV series "Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness"
- Blu-ray Exclusive Extras:
The Animator's Corner
Trivia Track
Animation Inspiration
- Filmmakers' Commentary
- Kickin' It with the Cast
- Panda Stories: Inside the World of the Giant Panda
- Kung Fu Shuffle
- Nǐ Hǎo
- World of DreamWorks Animation

Disc Two (SD)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 movie
- Digital Copy Download: Kung Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda World
- Get 2 free Kung Fu Panda World Online Game Memberships (memberships good through 4/30/12).
- Kung Fu Panda World is the virtual game world for kids to follow in Po's footsteps to become a kung fu master.
- Create avatars, play games with favorite characters, win points towards earning a kung fu black belt, chat with friends and more!

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
7.1 Dolby TrueHD Sound
French and Spanish Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 90 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Jack Black is back as Po in DreamWorks Animation's 'Kung Fu Panda 2,' the fiercely funny, 'winning sequel' (Scott Bowles, USA Today) to the Academy AwardŽ nominated original film. On his first big challenge since becoming the Dragon Warrior, Po must lead his friends and fellow kung fu masters The Furious Five on a mission of epic proportions to defeat his most threatening rival yet. 'Kung Fu Panda 2' packs a powerful punch that combines non-stop action, beautiful storytelling and stunning animation in this all-new awesome adventure. And in 'Secrets of the Masters,' the all-new Kung Fu Panda adventure debuting exclusively on DVD and Blu-ray, Po and the Furious Five uncover the legend of three of kung fu's greatest heroes: Master Thundering Rhino, Master Storming Ox, and Master Croc."

"Kung Fu Panda 2" is rated PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence.

The Movie:
"Kung Fu Panda 2" is one of those rare sequels that live up to the original. Everything that made the first film so much fun is still here and done in a way that doesn't feel like a simple rehash of the first movie.

Po is still his lovable, fat self and he's perfectly voiced by Jack Black. One of the things that make Po so much fun is how much he loves his role as a hero. He loves kung fu, he loves his friends, and he loves being the Dragon Warrior. It's a refreshing change from the tortured hero we so often see. There's a hilarious moment where Po and the Furious Five are flying into battle and Po takes a brief second to enjoy the moment and yell out, "I love you guys!" It's a funny bit that perfectly captures the essence of Po. Jack Black is again supported by the excellent voice cast from the first movie. Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross, and Lucy Liu are all overshadowed by Black, but they are also all given moments to shine and generate laughs. James Hong also really stands out as Mr. Ping, Po's adopted father. He provides some of the more touching moments of the story while still providing laughs as the silly looking goose.

The new villain for the movie is Gary Oldman as Lord Shen. On paper a villainous peacock is kind of a hard sell, but between Oldman's voice and the brilliant character animation, Shen becomes a formidable baddie. Also look for brief appearances by Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Croc, Michelle Yeoh as The Soothsayer, Dennis Haysbert as Master Oxen, Victor Garber as Master Thundering Rhino, and Danny McBride as the wolf bandit.

I also have to mention that the fight scenes are quite spectacular. They're a great mix of true action-adventure and cartoon violence. Tigress and Po gracefully fly through the air battling bad guys in a spectacular display of martial arts, but they also do so by bouncing the villains off of Po's belly, throwing him around comically, and dispatching bad guys in a manner worthy of Wyle E. Coyote... or possibly even Jackie Chan. The end result is a fun sight to behold.

On a final positive note, the movie ends on a great cliffhanger that shows what we can expect in a "Kung Fu Panda 3." You'll want to see more once you see it. (Also note that there's no bonus scene after the credits like there was in the first movie. Take your kids out to pee instead.)

The only criticism I can really give "Kung Fu Panda 2" is that it is somewhat predictable. Even before you watch the movie you know that Po is going to defeat Lord Shen and save the day. And even in the first 5 minutes you can tell how he's going to defeat him. All that remains is how the movie will unfold in-between. But, honestly, that's a minor gripe. We know Thor, Green Lantern, and Captain America are going to save the day, too, and that doesn't make them any less enjoyable.

"Kung Fu Panda 2" is a movie that is fun for both adults and children. It's one of those rare family films that are truly enjoyable for the whole family. And even if you don't have kids it is worth checking out.

The Extras:
This particular Blu-ray is jam packed with bonus features. The centerpiece is "Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters." It's a 23-minute short that starts with Jolie, Black, and Rogen in their full CG incarnations. The movie then goes into flashback mode and it reverts to a 2D animated tale about Master Thundering Rhino, Master Storming Ox, and Master Croc. It's a fun little bookend to the movie, but it sure makes the characters seem more pathetic for giving up in the film.

Also included with the short is "The Animator's Corner" where you see how the movie makers took a tour of China to learn more about the landscape, culture, and architecture. Along with that is "Panda Stories: Inside the World of the Giant Panda." You see the same filmmakers touring a panda breeding facility, Jack Black in Atlanta with a real panda named Po, and more. "Kickin' It with the Cast" shows the entire cast voicing the film. You also get a commentary, a trivia track, a lesson on Chinese language, some games, and other minor goodies.

Along with the movie, you get a digital copy of the film, a full episode of the new Nickelodeon TV series "Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness," and a free membership to the Kung Fu Panda World Online Game.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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