Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • PG
  • Action, Adventure
  • 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda 2

Synopsis

Po (Jack Black) and friends must defeat evil tyrant peacock Shen (Gary Oldman) who wants to rule China and wipe out the art of kung fu

About

Following up on 2008's box office hit Kung Fu Panda, this sequel doesn't tamper with the popular formula of the first: it's still all about believing in yourself and following your dreams, with an added helping of inner peace. Like the 2008 entry, the film opens with a beautifully realised prologue that suggests a technicolor Lotte Reiniger animation, with intricate silhouetted characters setting up a prophesy that Herod-esque peacock Shen (Gary Oldman) will be defeated by a black and white warrior.

This black and white warrior is of course Po (Jack Black), the slightly dim but good-natured kung fu warrior panda of the title. Prologue aside, the story is as cliche as they come, and like so many Dreamworks animations (Megamind, Bee Movie, Madagascar, A Shark's Tale), the characters somehow aren't quite 'there'. Po's friends, The Furious Five - Viper, Mantis, Crane, Monkey and Tigress - simply don't make the same impression as the secondary characters from, say, Toy Story, or, longer ago, Beauty And The Beast. Even the cuddly baby edition of Po seen in flashback seems a little calculatedly cute, and despite the fact we're used to hearing these animals speak with human voices, it's definitely weird to hear a human baby's crying and gurgling coming out of a panda cub's mouth.

Perhaps it's a little unfair to compare Kung Fu Panda 2 to undoubted landmarks like Toy Story. Dreamworks' animators can certainly be praised for the lush landscapes they've created for Po and co - sweeping lakes, misty mountains and sunrises over the sea are all lovingly rendered with an aesthetic charm the character animation lacks.

As with many stories aimed at children, the villain is the plum part here, and Gary Oldman as evil peacock Shen knows it. Moving with the menacing Velociraptor's gait of The Dark Crystal's terrifying Skeksis, the film only really comes alive when he's around with the result that adults may find themselves agreeing when he hisses at Po: "I find your stupidity mildly amusing."


Browse reviews of other animated movies

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Angelina Jolie
  • Director: Jennifer Yuh
  • Screen Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
  • Composer: John Powell, Hans Zimmer

In a nutshell

The odd amusing line doesn't stop this being pretty bland stuff, but it should keep younger viewers occupied.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 None Shall Escape

    None Shall Escape

    As the trial to determine whether a former German military officer is guilty of war crimes unfolds , his career is shown through flashback.

    On Film4: 1 Jun 5:25PM

  • Film4 The Sitter

    The Sitter

    Jonah Hill stars as a slacker who's forced to fill in as a babysitter for a night, but the kids he's looking after prove more than he can handle when he takes them on a crime-filled trip through NYC

  • Film4 Evil Dead

    Saturday Night Shocks on Film4

    Horror, mystery and suspense stake its claim on the weekend. A new season of Saturday Night Shocks comes to Film4.

  • Film4 Bridesmaids

    Comedy Season 2015 on Film4

    Eight nights of contemporary comedy hits, including first plays of Cuban Fury, American Reunion, The Sitter, and the network premiere of 21 & Over, on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4 enjoys double Cannes success

    Film4-backed films pick up two awards at the Cannes Film Festival... [caption id="attachment_4558" align="alignnone" width="600"] Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in The Lobster[/caption] At the

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Hang: the trailer

    Watch the trailer for a new play from Second Coming director Debbie Tucker Green. Film4 are pleased and proud to be working with acclaimed playwright Debbie Tucker Green on her debut feature film Sec

Rent now on Film4od

Available to rent for £2.50

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share