HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Rashid Irani

The king of comedy
Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times
May 27, 2011
First Published: 23:45 IST(27/5/2011)
Last Updated: 23:50 IST(27/5/2011)

Kung Fu Panda 2
Direction: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Voices: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie
Rating: ****

There are only a handful of sequels — The Godfather-Part II, for example — that it can be said improves upon the original. Thankfully, the follow-up to the 2008 animated hit is one of them.

Po, the podgy panda (superbly reprised by Black) flexes his muscles again to save China from a new villain, an albino peacock (dubbed in appropriately terrifying tones by Gary Oldman) intent on conquering the country.

First-time feature film director Nelson relies on the simple story, for which Guillermo Del Toro is co-credited as consultant, to keep viewers engrossed. The whiplash wit and whirlwind action sequences are matched by a visual panache that is breathtaking.

Though they are not given as much screen time as in the first film, Po’s warrior-comrades (returning vocal talent Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu and Seth Rogen) are still infectiously endearing.

Among the roster of newbie characters count a reformed crocodile criminal (voiced, in a casting coup of sorts, by Jean-Claude Van Damme) and a goat-soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh).

The swooping camera movements, background details and sound design are rendered with a meticulous attention to detail. The fundamental message — it’s essential to find inner peace in order to achieve one’s goal — is forcefully conveyed.

The encounters between Po and his adoptive father-goose (James Hong, wonderfully expressive) are as heart-warming as they are hilarious.

Few recent films, animated or live-action, have displayed the ceaselessly comic creativity of Kung Fu Panda 2. Here, then, is one of those rare sequels that will leave you wanting more, more and even more.

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