Jennifer Yuh Nelson
With this, Po sets out on a mission to foil bandits tasked to steal metal for Lord Shen (Gary Oldman), ruler of the peacocks, who needs it for a cannon meant to destroy all of China and rid the world of kung fu forever. Not surprisingly, Lord Shen’s serious disdain for both kung fu and pandas doesn’t sit too well with Po and the Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Crane (David Cross).
The better parts of Kung Fu Panda 2 are the exciting action sequences and amusing physical humor, which is so lively you can picture Jack Black spinning around in the recording studio, nearly tripping over the headphone cord. There, too, is a strong lesson for the kids about what really makes us who we are, nudged through flashbacks of Po’s past.
Like its predecessor, Kung Fu Panda 2 is full of top-notch storytelling and animation, courtesy of director Jennifer Yuh Nelson (filling in for the original’s John Wayne Stevenson and Mark Osborne) and the team at DreamWorks Animation/PDI. (Remember, just because Luxo Jr. doesn’t bounce around before the credits doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t deserve praise and nominations.)
That all of the primary talent signed on to reprise their roles says a lot about their trust in the movie. So, too, does the $665 million worth of people who went to see it. Kung Fu Panda 3 is inevitable. It’s encouraged, even--more so than Shr5k.
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (23:00): Directed by Tony Leondis (Igor), this primarily 2D animated film offers another adventure.
Animation Inspiration: With an introduction by director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, this interactive map takes viewers on a tour of some of the locations that inspired Kung Fu Panda 2’s settings, including Valley of Peace, Gongmen City and the Tower of the Sacred Flame.
The Animators’ Corner is a picture-in-picture commentary that runs with the movie and uses interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and storyboards to give fans a detailed overview of the movie’s production.
Filmmakers’ Commentary: Director Nelson, producer Melissa Cobb, production designer Raymond Zibach, and supervising animator/kung fu choreographer/story artist Rodolphe Guenoden all sit down for the track. Though well-meaning, with the inclusion of both “The Animators’ Corner” and the trivia track, this commentary is kind of redundant.
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (23:50) is an episode of the Nickelodeon series titled “Has-Been Hero.”
Kickin’ It with the Cast (12:42): This featurette focuses on the voice talent of Kung Fu Panda 2, including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, James Hong, Gary Oldman, and more.
Deleted Scenes (4:21): There are three test scenes included: “Fight Club - Bartender Scene,” “Po Chasing the Crow” and “Po in Gongmen City.”
Panda Stories (7:44) goes into the efforts to rescue the endangered species, with special attention paid to a baby panda named, appropriately enough, Po.
Kung Fu Shuffle: There are two shuffle games: “Barrels of Bunnies!” and “Baby Po’s Great Crate Challenge.”
Ni Hao offers a brief lesson on speaking and writing in Mandarin using Kung Fu Panda 2-inspired phrases.
World of Dreamworks Animation offers a selection of videos for a handful of Dreamworks features.