Finally, finally, finally Kungfu Panda 2 has hit our shores! So it was with pleasure and anticipation that my hot little feet whipped me off to my local theatre! I have been looking forward to this since it was announced a sequel was in the offering as I just loved the first feature. Believe it or not opening night was only yesterday and yet I was alone in the theatre with only one other person!! I couldn't believe it as it was really eerie as my laughter bounced off of the walls.
I may have been looking forward to this sequel but I was also worried somewhat. I really wondered how the first movie could be topped or if this second outing would even come close to the first quality wise. Well first off it in no way topped the first....not even close as it just didn't capture the the one thing the first had in abundance.........charm. The charm was missing and what I got was a rushed action heavy animated blitzkrieg instead. Sure it is a Kungfu movie but to me at times it looked no more than an animated version of last weeks Transformers movie...destruction and mayhem at the expense of the characters themselves. The building collapse of Transformers 3 is all but replicated here as well!
The plot was fine but the script rushed head long into the fray which saw the moral inherent to all animated features become lost in the mayhem that followed. It was all rush rush rush and what was so wonderful about the first movie was sadly missing. I thought it might have been over familiarity with the characters, but I don't think so because whilst there is a story of self discovery for Po, the movie really is just an actioner with plenty of fights and explosions.
But it isn't without its place because it still retained plenty of humour and I laughed out loud from start to finish! The animation was spot on and visually satisfying with plenty of sight gags to keep all happy. Problem is the one I keep coming back too..it was too rushed and it felt as if the producers were trying to fit just far to much into its running time. It just left out too much of what made the first such a success and is little more than a wreck 'em, bash 'em, blow 'em up, slug fest. Bangs for bucks entertainment yes but at too much expense of what Kungfu Panda should be about. ( I was surprised that Del Toro was executive producer for this as I had heard nothing about his involvement and I didn't see his influence ).
Overall I felt almost let down by this sequel. Sure it had plenty of laughs and was visually appealing but it gave up the wonderful feel of the first movie in becoming an animated action movie. The charm of the first was severely lacking and for me this is the key element of Kungfu Panda and its success. A lot of fun yes, full of humour yes, full of plenty of great animated fights yes.....but missing that 'certain' spark of the first. I enjoyed it and had a great time....but I didn't love it and believe me I LOVED the first one big time!
Still worth seeing as you will get your moneys worth. But if like me you want to re-capture the charm and wonderful vibe of the first I think you will be very disappointed. If I had to give it a grade I would go 7/10, whereas the first was an unequivocal 10/10 for me. Unfortunately the producers have fallen into the trap of making a big loud movie that misses the 'awesomeness' of the first.
Click on the month of February if you wish to read my review on the first Kungfu Panda as a comparison.