My Opinion right after watching movie
My opinion right after watching the movie is that it is one of the best animated sequels out there. It continues the story of the original, we learn something new about the characters, everything is well paced, and there are still cliffhangers at the end of the film, alluding to another sequel which even the Toy Story movies did not do. On its own, it holds well as well with a tight and engaging plot, and likable developed characters (the ones that matter).
I could not find much info on the production of the movie compared to the first movie. So this film was drafted soon after the film’s release under the name Pandamoneum, but it was known in 2010 as The Kaboom of Doom before it being changed to Kung Fu Panda 2. Apparently, this film started production in 2009 and used the stereoscopic 3-D technology of InTru 3D that they just got in that year.
They actually went to China in 2008 to study the cultures and more about Kung-Fu. They went to many cities for architectural bases as well.
So the movie starts with a traditionally animated looking flashback explaining the peacocks ruling the Gongmen City and they liked fireworks, which Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) saw darkness in it. A goat told him that a warrior with black and white (Pandas) will defeat him if he continues on this dark path, which makes him exterminate the Panda race. When he returned, his parents saw darkness in him and disowned him, with him promising to return for his rightful kingdom and fate.
So in present day, Shen sends his minions to look for metal in any town they can get to. Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) tells Po (Jack Black) that he needs to learn inner peace, as it is his next phase of training. Shen’s minions arrive in the town and the Sensational 6 (Yeah, I am calling them that) go in an epic fight with them, though losing as the minions still took the metal, because Po was distracted by a memory and has no peace with it.
This leads him to pay a visit to his father (David Cross) and asks him of how he existed, with them having the talk about him being adopted (this was hinted at in the first film), and his father tries to give him answers of how he came to be at the noodle shop, but he only knows that Po was delivered in a radish box.
Word gets back to Shifu that Shen took over the Gongmen City and killed the Thundering Rhino, the leader of the kung fu council and took over the kingdom, so he sends the Sensational 6 to stop him. He says an awkward goodbye to his father, since things became weird after the adoption conversation.
So as they are resting on their way, he tries to find inner peace, but fails since he still has the thought of his birth on his mind, and he has a nice conversation with Tigress. The fortune goat tells him the same fortune he got 30 years ago, and hew realizes that he did not get rid of all the pandas.
The next morning, they sneak through the town to make sure he does not get noticed, and after talking to one of the commoners, they tell him that the council is in jail, and they go there to the underwhelming…
So they leave the prison and gets captured by the guards, who bring them to Shen’s castle. They see the cannon that Shen will use to destroy Kung Fu, and taunts Po about a lifetime of revenge, with Po being unaware of what happened. Viper (Lucy Liu) unlocks the chains as Po rumbles on and on. They escape and fight, but he gets distracted with another flashback with Shen being there when he was taken from his parents. Shen and his crew escape the tower and bombs it, with the Sensational 6 making a grande escape.
But unfortunately, they land back in the prison. Everyone realizes that Po is not on his a-game, as he has not found inner peace, and they refuse to let him help them defeat Shen. The goat tells Shen that he should stop this, and that he should let his parents rest in peace, with him responding that they hated him and betrayed him.
So Po refuses to listen to them and escapes to attack Shen and after another battle, he tells Po that his parents never loved him and that he will heal his pain by shooting him with a cannon, leading him to go far far away.
So Po ends up at the Goat’s home and she treats him back to health and he realizes that he was there before, and learned that it used to be where the Pandas lived before their execution and he remembered everything that happened, finding inner peace in it because of the life he has now, ya,ya,ya.
So Po returns to defeat Shen, saves the Furious 5, uses the inner peace technique to defeat Shen.
Shen is dead and his castle is destroyed, as well as the cannon. When he returns home, he assures his father that he is his father and thanks him for raising him. So the cliffhanger comes and shows that somewhere far far away, his father an d a bunch of pandas are living and he realizes that his son is alive.
The characters in the film are enjoyable, and as some develop more and become stronger, others are more one-note and forgettable, so there is a mix of great and eh.
The animation is BREATHTAKING, and I believe that the Kung Fu Panda movies have the best animation in the canon. Everything is so detailed unlike the other movies but one nitpick that I do have is that the color scheme is very dark. A lot of reds, greys, and blacks, but they were going for a darker story so I guess it works.
The music is the same old stuff from the first film. It is good, but a bit too familiar.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on May 26, 2011, it opened at #2 behind The Hangover II, and closed at August, making $165,249,063, and $500,443,218 overseas, making a total of $665,692,281. It is the highest-grossing animated film of 2011, 6th highest grossing film of 2011, 12th highest-grossing animated film, and the 63rd highest grossing film.
It did well critically, and received positive reviews. It was praised for doing what a sequel is supposed to do, expand the world, learn more and develop the characters, tell an engaging story that has some connection to the first one. The animation and voice acting was praised as well. Some people felt that it was rehashing the original and was too familiar to it.
This film was nominated for A BUNCH of awards, such as an Academy Award fr Best Animated feature, 3 Women’s Film Journalist Awards, 6 Annies, and a bunch of other awards, but it only won 2 Annies.
Well, since there is a spinoff series that is doing well, it made a lot of money in the box office, and a third movie is in development ready for release in December 23, 2015, then the reception of this film is very good. The fans of the first one like this movie, and DreamWorks does acknowledge it.
Story = 8/10
Characters = 7/10
Music = 9/10
Animation = 9/10