I was in a horrible mood watching Kung Fu Panda 2. This guy behind me wouldn’t stop kicking my seat. So I elbowed the seat whenever he did it. I probably looked like I was really into the movie and was pumping my fist back like, “Hell yeah Kung Fu Panda 2!” I never did get a good look at the seat kicker but I saw his friend, who was wearing a Super Mario Bros. shirt. What if I had finally snapped and had to fight these dudes, and now I’m looking at Luigi and Princess Peach through a haze of blood? Wow, that hypothetical fight really got out of hand. Then again, having a videogame character on your shirt does add colorful flair to otherwise dismal situations. If you’re a girl and you find out your boyfriend’s been cheating on you, but he’s wearing a Kirby shirt when you confront him- well cheer up, there’s Kirby!
In Kung Fu Panda 2, a panda uses martial arts to fight a peacock with Gary Oldman’s voice. I wish this was something that happened at the zoo all the time. “We’re going to have to keep these kung fu pandas separated from the peacocks with Gary Oldman’s voice. Why did I choose to be the supervisor at the zoo for genetically engineered animals with advanced fighting skills and human celebrity voices?”
Anyway, Kung Fu Panda 2 picks up where the first movie left off, and now Po is the Dragon Warrior. You know, Dragon Warrior on Nintendo was a pretty good game for its time. The artwork of the red-caped knight on the cartridge made me feel like I was entering a world of dragons, steel and magic and not a bunch of blocky pixels moving around. Then again, just holding a stick I found in the woods made me feel like I was entering a world of dragons, steel and magic so maybe I was predisposed to be impressed by anything even remotely dragon related.
Po’s Master Shifu is played by Dustin Hoffman. Master Shifu meditates by balancing on a stick and manipulating a drop of water to demonstrate his inner peace. There’s a bar here in Atlanta that serves cowboy sushi rolls with spicy Kobe steak and mustard sauce but caters to people I generally don’t like. One time I was eating delicious sushi and drinking beer and overheard this sorority girl at a nearby table telling her friend she liked Eat Pray Love but “didn’t go in for all that meditation shit”. I guess she must have gone in for the eating and loving parts, though to be fair I think anyone who is disgusted by the idea of meditation probably isn’t a good candidate for understanding love. I’m pretty sure Master Shifu is a red panda, so that actually makes two Kung Fu Pandas in this movie.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is mostly about martial arts versus firearms. There’s a whole side thing about Po coming to grips with whether or not he considers his adoptive father his real father but the fact that he even questions it just seems to insult the progress they made with the character relationships from the first movie. The Gary Oldman peacock uses firework powder to make cannons and everybody seems mad at him about it.
How dare you Gary Oldman peacock! You should be strutting around trying to attract a mate with your colorful plumage, not founding a military–industrial complex. Why does everybody cluck their tongues when an industrious peacock starts making gunpowder-based weapons and then cheer in every other movie when a cowboy shoots a gun or a pirate shoots a cannon? I think it’s because he tried to kill a lovable fighting panda.
This movie kept switching back and forth between hand drawn animation and 3D CGI graphics. I feel like they should have kept a consistent visual style. I’m not going to art house snob it up and suggest they change the title credits to Helvetica, but I guess I like animation to stick with one direction. You know what else? The final battle scenes didn’t feel as fun to me as the ones leading up to the climax. Maybe since there wasn’t pressure to make them feel important they got to be looser and more kinetic.
You know what, though? I’m going to go ahead and wrap this review up right here. It’s like walking away in the middle of a conversation at a party. Let’s pretend we’re at a party and we were talking about Kung Fu Panda 2 and I just said, “Excuse me” and walked over to the table with all the little cheeses and crackers and little sausages. Hmmm, that does seem rude. Okay, pretend your wife just tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to step outside. Maybe she wants to bare knuckle box you. Either way, that frees me up to go hit the meats and cheeses. Goodbye!