Po (Jack Black), the legendary Dragon Warrior, is now a kung fu master under master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), but he is yet to complete his final training, to achieve inner peace. Meanwhile, in Gongmen City a fearful enemy, Lord Shen (Gary Oldman), has taken over the throne and now poses a new threat to everyone. Po and the Furious Five must act quickly before this new menace destroys everything they are fond of. But Po’s past now haunts him and he must find answers before it is too late.
There’s a general perception that sequels hardly ever match the success of the first film. As for Kung Fu Panda 2 goes, it didn’t fully match the success of the first film, but it wasn’t far behind, although this time around there’s more kung fu, more characters, and more action than the last film. However, this time around we the writers added something was left hanging in the story, Po’s true origins. This new element brings more emotion that ends up appealing to a broader audience. Even though the film still has the silly situations that kids tend to love the film has a lot more to offer to a greater audience, as it is more emotional and engaging.
Even with the new elements the only thing about the film would be the fact that we spend the first part of the film seeing the same silly jokes and getting to know the characters. If you already seen the first film this is perhaps unnecessary. Other than that small complaint the rest of the film is entertaining. There is another aspect of creativity within the film and that is the hand drawn animation used to tell Po’s past stories. These are shown throughout the film and for the most part they are gorgeous and something new to appreciate. The film is simply enjoyable from every aspect. Fans of the first film should have no problem picking this new adventure. There’s plenty of gas left for more panda action so hopefully the next surpasses both films.
Kung Fu Panda 2 arrives on Blu-ray with an MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.35:1. DreamWorks Animation spent a lot of time putting this together carefully because it looks fantastic! The image is crystal clear. Colors are vivid and vibrant. Black levels are deep and very inky. Detailing is excellent throughout, just look at all the characters’ fur and you will immediately see the strands of hair or see the intricate garments worn by Lord Shen and Shifu to see the textures. There are also a handful of hand drawn animated scenes that simply look amazing with great depth and vivid colors. Even the black levels in these hand drawn scenes are very inky and well resolved. There are no signs of video anomalies. DreamWorks Animation did a fantastic job with Kung Fu Panda 2 since it looks amazing. This is demo worthy material.
Kung Fu Panda 2 arrives on Blu-ray with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. If you thought it couldn’t get any better, just wait until you hear this track. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout. The rears are very active with the ambient effects. Directionality is spot on in the fronts. The LFE is balanced and precise. The track is excellent it takes full advantage of the space. There are no signs of audio anomalies. The track is excellent and is easily demo worthy.
Audio Commentary – The track is informative, but if you have seen the PiP track this commentary compliment it. The track deals a lot more with the technical side of things specially dealing with the 3D and 2D hand drawn creation.
The Animators Corner – This is a PiP track features some cast and crew as they explain the filming of the show, the story and its characters. This is a great piece to compliment the audio commentary.
Trivia Track – Watch facts pop up on the screen as the film is playing.
The World of DreamWorks Animation – Choose a trailer for five different DreamWorks Animation movies.
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters – See the story behind the Gongmen City kung fu masters, Master Storming Ox, Master Croc, and Thundering Rhino.
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness – Watch an episode of the Nickelodeon’s Kung Fu Panda animated series.
Kickin’ It With The Cast – See the actors behind the voices of the characters.
Panda Stories – See this short piece on real life pandas.
Kung Fu Shuffle – Interactive game with characters from the film.
Ni Hao – Here’s a beginner’s course on Chinese.
The sequel may or may not be a complete hit, but that doesn’t mean it was not entertaining. The film is filled with silly situations, but the adventure is very enjoyable. The new elements brought to this story are excellent and quite fitting to this new entry that obviously will lead to more adventures in the future. Technically speaking the Blu-ray disc is excellent with a perfect video transfer and an audio that is superb. The disc is also filled with plenty of supplements that will keep viewers busy long after the movie has ended. Kung Fu Panda should easily make its way to your collection. It is highly recommended.