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101 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular sequel
The original Kung Fu Panda is one of the only Dreamworks Animation films that actually holds its own in comparison to Pixar films. It managed to capture the look and feel of the classics old and new that martial arts film enthusiasts such as myself admire so much while also offering humor that was actually funny, fantastic animation, and just an incredibly entertaining...
Published on May 26, 2011 by C. Sawin

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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy the digital copy
First off let me say I loved the movie. Loved it so much I purchased a digital copy to download and keep on my Kindle Fire. The problem came when according to Amazon tech help, DreamWorks decided they were not making enough sells in the DVD area, and blocked this from the streaming content on what they called a blackout period. Which in return caused Amazon to remove my...
Published on May 6, 2012 by Amazon Customer


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101 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular sequel, May 26, 2011
This review is from: Kung Fu Panda 2 (DVD)
The original Kung Fu Panda is one of the only Dreamworks Animation films that actually holds its own in comparison to Pixar films. It managed to capture the look and feel of the classics old and new that martial arts film enthusiasts such as myself admire so much while also offering humor that was actually funny, fantastic animation, and just an incredibly entertaining film overall. It turned out to not only be one of the more enjoyable animated films of 2008, but one of the best films of that year period. So, here we are, three years later with Kung Fu Panda 2 resting on the horizon of its release that actually feels just as strong as the original without all of the endless shortcomings most would expect to plague a sequel.

When it comes to animated films, one of the most important ingredients is the cast. The voice cast can make or break an animated feature. A talented one can make it even better while a weaker one can result in it hurting the overall enjoyment of the film. Fortunately, the cast for Kung Fu Panda 2 is pretty spot on. The entire main cast (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, James Hong) returns from the first film and while it would be nice to see some of them have meatier roles and/or more lines (Jackie Chan and David Cross for starters), just having them return is fantastic. Casting changes between sequels are never really great. They can be pleasantly surprising, but it never feels the same. So it's great to see the entire ensemble back in full form. My personal favorite from the original cast is James Hong as Mr. Ping. The Asian American actor is perhaps best known as the villain in Big Trouble in Little China and was also Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner, but hearing that actor voice a goose who runs a restaurant and is so attached to his kung fu panda/China saving son is awesome in itself. Mr. Ping is an emotional wreck with Po putting himself in danger so often and Hong just makes his heartfelt performance stand out above the rest.

Newcomers such as Dennis Haysbert (Heat, "24") and Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sunshine) were fun additions. Yeoh voices The Soothsayer, who has a few humorous moments with Lord Shen, but realizing that Jean Claude Van Damme voiced Master Croc gave a little more weight to the throwbacks to well-known martial arts films. That influence is definitely there in the Kung Fu Panda films and both of them use that influence as a crutch in the best of ways, but having talent like Van Damme, Jackie Chan, and Michelle Yeoh participate make it all feel a little more genuine. It'd be like bringing in Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, or Sammo Hung. The cast in this is just as much a drawing factor in this as it is in something like The Expendables. It makes that homage mean so much more.

Gary Oldman practically steals every scene that he's in though. He brings that intensity and dark lunacy associated with his roles in Leon and The Fifth Element to the Lord Shen role; those same traits that made fans love his talent in the first place. He fits the role of an evil albino peacock rather well.

The animation is really the film's Tour de force. Every movement flows naturally and everything is so crisp and smooth. Fight scenes are so fast yet easy to digest. Animals talking, portraying human emotion, their hair folding in the wind all look natural. But the art direction of the film is something special. It was already fantastic in the first film, but they really bulked it up for the sequel. It's slightly reminiscent of "Samurai Jack" yet more awesome; more engrossing. It captures the feel of Chinese martial arts perfectly and the use of traditional animation during Po's flashbacks was an extremely welcome addition; having Guillermo Del Toro as the creative consultant on the film surely helped in their benefit.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is beautifully animated, exceptionally cast, laugh out loud funny, and nearly upstages the original at every turn. While certain things in the film like the "inner peace" bit are slightly predictable, it doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of a sequel that capitalizes and improves on its predecessor rather than feeling like a watered down version of it.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sequel that manages to be better than the first movie, June 16, 2011
By 
When it comes to sequels, it's rare enough that one manages to measure up to the first film. More often than not they end up being disappointing to one degree or another. Particularly when you're talking about animated films (the Shrek and Toy Story films being more the exception than the rule). But Kung Fu Panda 2 is that rarity among sequels in that, in my opinion, it is actually an improvement on the first film in quite a number of ways, which I'll get to later.

In this film, Po (the kung-fu panda of the title) and the Furious Five (Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, Viper & Crane) are called on to face a new threat: the return of the exiled Prince Shen (a peacock), who has come back armed with a powerful new weapon and determined to take over the kingdom. Complicating matters though are the fact that Prince Shen apparently had something to do with how Po, a panda, came to be raised by a goose, Mister Ping, his loving if noodle-obsessed father. In order to find the 'inner peace' he needs to defeat Shen, Po must first find the secret of his past, a past that he only sees in flashes of haunting memory that Shen's appearance has awakened in him.

Beyond the plot though, almost everything in Kung Fu Panda 2 is better than the first film, which was already pretty respectable to begin with. One thing is that KFP2 steeps itself even deeper in Chinese culture and it shows in both the sumptuously colored and detailed art of the backgrounds, in the traditions subtly brought out in the story, and even in the musical score wrought by John Powell and Hans Zimmer. And there is more depth, both philosophically and artistically, to the kung-fu; a particular key sequence by Master Shifu early on is a slow and beautiful thing to watch.

The voice actors are all excellent, with all of the original actors reprising their roles: Po (Jack Black), Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross) and of course Mister Ping (the inimitable veteran James Hong). New additions include a sooth-saying ram (beautifully done by Michelle Yeoh), and kung-fu masters Croc (Jean-Claude Vam Damme) and Ox (Dennis Haysbert). And a notable cameo for film buffs is the voice of the Musician Bunny (director Paul Mazursky).

I have to give particular praise though to how well Prince Shen was done. At first thought, the idea of a villainous peacock sounds, well, ridiculous. But Prince Shen, as conceived and dazzlingly executed by the animators of KFP2, and as masterfully voiced by Gary Oldman, radiates arrogant menace and threat, in attitude and physically, in a fashion that is both artful and deadly. Director Jennifer Yuh said that "Shen proved to be a great challenge to animate, so much that the complexity of the character was like that of doing six characters all at once." IMHO, KFP2 is worth seeing just for Shen alone.

And, for what it's worth, this is one of the few 3D movies I've seen that was actually worth seeing in 3D.

My only quibble with the film is that it really didn't develop the Furious Five much as characters, which I would like to have seen. There are hints of things given about Tigress, but they're never really developed, and the rest of the Five are relegated to the same hero-support roles they had in the original.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good story and especially for anyone who liked the first film. This one definitely takes it up a notch.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent sequel with winning elements, May 27, 2011
This review is from: Kung Fu Panda 2 (DVD)
My husband, child, and I are fans of the original Kung Fu Panda, but I was rather wary about this sequel since most sequels are never nearly as good as their predecessors. Well, I am glad to be proven wrong by Kung Fu Panda 2! All three of us thought this was not only a worthy successor to the original but actually much better. The key elements that make an animated movie a winner are all here - a stellar cast, impressive animation, well-written script, and a story that appeals to both children and adults.

The original cast returns in this sequel with Jack Black providing the voice of Po the adorable Dragon Warrior Panda; Angelina Jolie as Tigress; Jackie Chan as Monkey; Seth Rogen as Mantis; Lucy Liu as Viper; David Cross as Crane; Dustin Hoffman as Shifu the Kung Fu Master; and James Hong as Mr. Ping, Po's dad. In this sequel, viewers are introduced to a new nemesis, Shen, a magnificent peacock skilled in Kung Fu, yet possessed of the blackest of hearts. Shen is ably voiced by Gary Oldman, and every nuance and turn of phrase conveys the evil residing within this creature. One of my favorite Asian actresses, Michelle Yeoh provides the voice of the Soothsayer Ram, an important character in this movie.

The story this time centers around Po trying to find his inner peace as instructed by Shifu. Trouble is, Po is haunted by questions about his past, triggered by an encounter with a bandit wolf. Meanwhile, as Po goes through this inner conflict (something which he chooses not to share with his friends), there is serious trouble brewing over in the capital city. Shen, who was once the heir to the Peacock Throne has amassed an army of ferocious wolves, and most importantly, invented a weapon that makes Kung-Fu seem almost obsolete. Shen is enraged when the Soothsayer Ram refuses to back down from her prediction made many years ago - that Shen's fate is intertwined with that of something which is black and white. So the stage is set for a showdown between Po and Shen.

The story flows seamlessly, and the animation is of stellar quality. We watched it in 3-D, and I enjoyed the effects, especially the battle scenes (and there are tons of those in this movie). The talented cast makes this a pleasure to watch as each actor brings a unique interpretation to his/her character, and it wasn't about Jack Black voicing a panda, but Po as a real character that comes into his own in this sequel. As in the original, positive messages abound here and these are woven seamlessly into the fabric of the story without seeming to come across as overly didactic. Themes such as the notion of what constitutes a family; loyalty; friendship; ambition/greed/evil; and self-identity are all portrayed in a convincing manner, and best of all, there's lots of humor in here, even when the subject matter is serious. This perfect balance of light and dark, the comical and serious, goes perfectly with the Eastern philosophy of Yin and Yang, and Po is the embodiment of these contrary forces.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is rated PG, with a running time of 90 minutes. It is a movie that will appeal to both children and adults, and is entertaining, fun, and poignant. Highly recommended!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3D Review by a 3D Connoisseur, February 24, 2012
By 
Keith Niemeyer (LaCrosse, WI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
My ratings are based mainly on the QUALITY OF THE 3D, not the video content.

OOS EFFECTS:
There are about 110 out of screen effects that extend about 10% of the way, from the screen to the viewer. There are about 42 from 15% - 20%, 32 at 25%, 7 at 30%, 4 at 40% and 2 at 50%. These are some large numbers but the bulk of the OOS effects are very quick.

IN SCREEN / OBSERVATIONS:
Like most of the newer animated 3D films, the in-screen 3D looks very good but I found the background lacking at times. The shading and detail of the characters are an enhancement to the 3D experience.

I rarely comment on video content but as an adult viewer I was unimpressed by the storyline. IMO the film is geared for a young audience but conversely has a large amount of cartoon violence.

ACTIVE GLASSES USERS:
There is some crosstalk sprinkled throughout the film but most of it is barely noticeable by being hidden within objects.
(crosstalk varies from system to system)

MY 3D RATING = VERY GOOD (poor, fair, good, very good, excellent)

Note: As far as the percentages go, everyone's eyes are different. What I see at 25% you may see at 15% or 35%. To fully realize how far something is out of the screen for you, pause on an effect and direct a partner with an extended finger to the tip of what you are seeing. You may be surprised.

Click on my name for the lowdown on other 3Ds
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy the digital copy, May 6, 2012
First off let me say I loved the movie. Loved it so much I purchased a digital copy to download and keep on my Kindle Fire. The problem came when according to Amazon tech help, DreamWorks decided they were not making enough sells in the DVD area, and blocked this from the streaming content on what they called a blackout period. Which in return caused Amazon to remove my purchased copy from my Kindle and block me from the streaming version. Amazon did return my money but it has made me very cautious about making future digital purchases. Just a warning to any buying digital movies from Dreamworks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Solid Movie for Adoptive Families, October 31, 2012
This review is from: Kung Fu Panda 2 (DVD)
Adoption issues were touched on in the first Kung Fu Panda movie -- Po (the Panda) notices that all of his ancestors are geese, and he and his father, Mr. Ping, almost talk about it. In this movie, they do talk. Mr. Ping shares his experience of the day he met Po. As the story progresses, Po learns more about his history, and finally has to answer a question posed by another character: "Who are you?" Po ends up being able to synthesize his identity as a panda and as the son of Mr. Ping. This is a fun movie, and could be helpful for adoptive families trying to help their children be comfortable with "multiple-source" identities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kung Fu Panda 2 Kicks Right Back Into Your Heart, August 29, 2013
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How do you qualify the success of a sequel? Is it whether the film matches or outperforms the original at the box office? Is it an improvement of artistic merit? Or is it taking the sequel in a slightly new direction and succeeding? Kung Fu Panda 2 may be the first animated sequel to answer each of those questions in the minds of each viewer.

Not long after Po (voiced by Jack Black) became the Dragon Warrior and, with the assistance of the Furious Five, saved the kingdom from the escaped snow leopard Tai Lung, the portly panda wears his fame on his sleeve. Never letting those around him forget who is the most powerful kung fu warrior alive. His father has even begun using his son's fame as a selling tool for his own noodle shop. Yet, when a new force threatens the Valley of Peace, Po joins forces with Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross) to wrest control from the mad, white peacock Shen (Gary Oldman). Also back to serve up advice and set Po on his journey is Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), a diminutive Grand Master struggling to find in himself inner peace.

Simple as the plot may sound, a challenging execution lays before Jennifer Yuh, a first-time big screen director who has worked in storyboarding and artistic design on film since 1994. Yuh takes the screenplay by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and their team of writers and gives turns it into a gorgeous, poetic vision of ancient China with rich symbolism, gorgeous scenery and a magnificent series of flashbacks, including the opening sequence, employing various colorful gears to tell the story of Shen's origin. Having received a prophecy that he will be defeated by a creature of black and white, Shen begins a campaign to slaughter every panda alive in an effort to stave off his demise. His treachery and violence lead his loving and peaceful parents to exile him. Adding immeasurably to the magnificent visuals of the opening Michelle Yeoh's wonderful narration adds an beautiful layer of depth.

We know from the first film that Po's father Mr. Ping (Jame Hong) is not his natural father. A goose having a panda cub child? But the film didn't go into great depth about Po's origin leaving a terrific opening for the sequel. In order to find the inner peace he will need in order to defeat Shen, Po must calm the storms in his heart and uncover the truth about his parents and how he came to be the adoptive son of a goose. The flashback scenes peppered throughout the present tense action colorfully unveil his history, revealing a stark and tragic history that allows the audience to form an emotional connection with Po that they may not have had in the original film.

The voice work has changed little since the original film, but adding in Oldman's machinations as the voice of Shen was a stroke of genius. For several years, Oldman has softened his image, giving the audience a glimpse of the more compassionate side of his craft. With roles in the Harry Potter films as Harry's compassionate father and in the Batman films as the kindly Lieutenant Gordon, I had become concerned that we might forever lose the richness of character he could bring to a villainous role. Kung Fu Panda revives my faith in him as an actor. Shen is a cold-hearted villain like few others, but his vocal talents lend an air of menace the film might not have had with a lesser actor in the role. His voice work makes this one of his finest performances in years.

Not since Toy Story 2 has there been an animated sequel that has improved upon the original. Tonally, Kung Fu Panda 2 is quite a bit darker than its comedy-laden first feature, but that's to the benefit of the film. While it has many light moments that give the audience occasion to smile, adding too much levity to a story of such gravity would have been dangerous. They have created the perfect balance. It might not be the joyous production a lot of kids will enjoy, this film will appeal mostly to the adults whose support has frequently made Pixar the envy of the animation industry. While I doubt that Pixar can easily be supplanted as the best animation house in film history, DreamWorks is making the case that it isn't some fly-by-night, box office-at-all-costs studio like rival Fox.

With the Panda films and How to Train Your Dragon, I'm no longer afraid to sit down to a DreamWorks animated feature expecting to be annoyed by how childish it is, because I'm no longer likely to be so disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great humor, villain, and successful sequel, June 22, 2012
This review is from: Kung Fu Panda 2 (DVD)
First off, a few character studies. The peacock villain, Lord Shen, was obsessed with power. He wanted to rule, and kung fu hindered his greed. His solution is to use a weapon of fire and metal to stop kung fu. He's an outcast son who, by trying to change his future like Oedipus of old, fulfilled it. He's full of bitterness and willing to destroy anything that gets in his way. Po, now the Dragon Warrior, faces two new challenges. One, to find "inner peace." Two, to save kung fu from Shen's "cup that is never full." He's haunted by visions from his past, and travels not only to save kung fu, but also to learn the secrets of his past. His connections with the furious five are growing, and they form a much stronger team. I love it when Po offers Shen the chance to be a new person, and offers forgiveness. How it ends is for you to see. These and other characters were great, and showed off some fun acting. The movie was full of chuckling humor, despite a couple cheesy lines.

The animation was amazing, to say the least. The 3D worked really well, with all the fighting and stunts. I really liked the diverse use of animation, with the 3D, the flat cartoon-like images, and the shadow puppets. The new range of animals, including gorillas, goats, peacocks, and a croc, was very satisfying as well. As in the first film, the fight scenes were wonderfully thought up and animated. In one particular fight scene, the music was timed precisely with each of the blows and bumps, creating a really cool experience. This describes all the music composed for this film by Hans Zimmer and John Powell. I heartily enjoyed all of the music.

Now for the movie's effectiveness as a sequel. Unlike many companies, Dreamworks wisely planned for this movie even before releasing the first, and organized the plot around it. That was a key that made it successful. Plan ahead, far ahead. I love it when a sequel works as this one does. In the plot of saving kung fu, with the subplot of finding out about his past, Po took watchers through a wonderful adventure. They even left a cliffhanger, which gives me hope that they had also planned for a third. However, along with that are a few concerns. First, I worry that they thought up this cliffhanger on the spot, and haven't planned far ahead. I want the third movie to be as much (if not more) of a success as this one was. Second, based on the cliffhanger, it may occur that the third movie takes the focus away from kung fu, and expands the "Po's past" theme to be the main show. This would be a disaster.

Now for my final recommendation. This movie is slightly darker than the first, and is more intense. Not that it isn't for kids anymore. Kids, I believe, will still enjoy this movie, maybe even more than the first. There is no language, and no inappropriate references or behavior. All the humor is clean, and actually funny. It is rated PG by MPAA for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expiration date on digital copy = 12/13/2012, January 5, 2012
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Loved this movie. It's a rare sequel that's somehow better than its originator. Word of warning if you purchase this copy, however, tinytinytiny print on the back says digital copy code may not be valid after 12/13/2012. Also the Kung Fu Panda World 2 free online game memberships (lower right corner of front of the box) must be redeemed by and expires on 04/30/2012.

Just gotta love how they can make sure to put TM and R next to Blu-Ray and Digital Copy, yet don't flag Digital Copy so a person knows to pull out a magnifying glass for fine print on DC expiring at some point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars scared my kids, June 6, 2014
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We could not even finish it. waste of time and money- first one was fun and light-hearted- this one much darker.
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Kung Fu Panda 2
Kung Fu Panda 2 by Jack Black (DVD - 2011)
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