movies: kung fu panda 2

kung fu panda 2 - prepare for the return of awesomenessThere are times when a sequel lives up to the original, there are times when it fails horribly and there are times when it actually surpasses it.

I'm very happy to say that Kung Fu Panda 2 is actually of the latter disposition... while the original was good, this is better.

It contains everything I loved about the original, the beautiful Asian visual style, gorgeous computer animation, great attention to detail, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Lui, the perfectly timed use of the word "Skadoosh"...

And then it mixes in a whole new bunch of things, including Gary Oldman as possibly one of the most beautiful animated villains ever, an albino peacock (which doesn't sound that scary until you remember that it's being voiced by Gary Oldman)... and it also answers one of the questions I had about the first one, namely, why is Po's father a goose?

The other thing that's really great about the Kung Fu Panda movies is that they don't hit you over the head with the message... it's definitely in there, but it's subtly woven into the whole story and hidden between the laughs and some rollicking action sequences.

It's also definitely one of the animated movies where they've gotten the celebrity voice cast absolutely right... other movies often pull me out of the moment thinking "oh it's you... and that's... wait, wait, wait... oh yeah, that's her", but with KFP2, they just are their characters so much that you don't even think about where the voices come from.

And there's also that "Pixar Moment" (which is impressive, given that this is a Dreamworks movie)... the point at which I got a little misty eyed... and other than the equally impressive How To Train Your Dragon, that really hasn't happened (in the animation oeuvre) outside of a Pixar movie in recent memory.

I didn't even mind that the final scene of the movie totally sets up the premise for a third instalment... in fact it made me impatient because I really want to see the next movie!

While we only saw the 2D version, I think it's pretty likely that the 3D version would be incredibly impressive, and I'd recommend that to people, even though I haven't seen it. I can only imagine it would wring another level of awesomeness out of a pretty damn awesome movie.

Great story, fun action, gorgeous animation, perfect casting... what more can I say other than awesome!

yani's rating: 5 feather blades out of 5

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