I didn’t know what to expect from this sequel as I waded through the horde of sugar-fuelled children outside the Savoy. After watching the first film only the night before I have to admit I didn’t feel I was quite as dedicated a fan as those who had gathered in the lobby clutching their Po panda teddies, some young, some not so young.
Dreamworks have produced some amazing sequels, and some not so amazing. I went in expecting a mediocre rehash of the same old same old, but was pleasantly surprised.
The sequel sees the return of loveable Po the panda (Jack Black), who is living his dream as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his fellow Kung Fu masters The Furious Five.
The story kicks off, literally, when the village is threatened by an evil peacock, Lord Scen, who is trying to take over China. Po and the gang must leave the valley and attempt to defeat the wicked albino peacock and destroy his deadly weapon of destruction. The film takes on a rather dark storyline which some younger children quite obviously found terrifying, with frequent screams and cries being heard throughout. I must admit the 3D effect had me flinching at times to avoid being stabbed by bamboo shoots. The darkness of the storyline is counteracted by those famous one-liners made popular by the first film, and it’s safe to say the laughs far outweighed the screams.
As if saving China isn’t enough, Po is also trying to uncover who he really is and where he came from after discovering that his father, the goose, is not actually his biological father. Shock horror, I know. Po must look deep into his past and find his Inner Peace before he can unlock the strength he needs to succeed in his protecting role as the almightyDragon Warrior. This provided plenty of those tug at the heartstrings moments as flashbacks of Po the baby panda, caused the majority of the audience to gasp and let out more than a few “oh so cute” remarks.
Sporting lush visuals, constant scenes of entertainment and amiable characters, Kung Fu Panda 2 progresses from its predecessor in a way that can only be seen as positive. The closing scene leaves us with the feeling that there might just be a Kung Fu Panda 3. Bring it on!