We saw Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D and it was… as expected

It seems these holidays you can basically spend at least a week watching one or another new release 3D films. The good news about that is that the glasses are far better quality than the old cardboard ones, and the 3D effects have also made a leap and bound – into your face. When you get a good cinema that plays the audio to the correct levels, and the person taking the seat next to you doesn’t rustle their chip packet the whole way through, you’re pretty much onto one of the more adult-friendly activities you can undertake with your kids these holidays.
The issue with 3D movies is they cost a little extra (we dropped another $46 on this one in 3D when the standard 2D version would have been $38 for the three of us at one of the major chains), and when you’re already being bled dry by the price of a movie ticket, it’s hard to justify the extra. That is, unless the kids love the film. Luckily, with Kung Fu Panda 2 (KFP2), that’s exactly what happened.
Both Harry (13 yrs) and Charlie (11 yrs) really wanted to see this film. I must admit some reluctance. I think Jack Black was awesome in School of Rock, but horrendous in Gulliver’s Travels. While I enjoyed the original KFP and had heard this was just as good, I really wasn’t looking forward to it like I am the final Harry Potter (stay tuned for that one!).
Let’s just say this movie met my expectations. It was somewhat slow but at least Jack Black’s characterisation didn’t overshadow the film, and in fact the other five Kung Fu good guys shone as well. Panda Po’s dad was just fantastic in this one, and moves a step up from the silly character he was in the first film. Po reverts to being somewhat doughy at times in apparent attempts to allow Jack Black to pull out some comedy genius (doesn’t actually happen), but has an innate Kung Fu connection that allows him to shine. Happily, there is absolutely no language of any kind, nor any questionable violence beyond that seen in a basic kid’s cartoon on a Saturday morning – so parents of all kids can relax.
The only disappointment was the lack of reiteration of some of the established characters from the first film as well as lack of background on the others. I can’t recall if the two ‘masters’ of Kung Fu were introduced in the first film or not – but they appear and are just accepted anyway. These two masters didn’t provide insight or development for the story with a subplot or other larger connection – and it was an absence not missed by my kids.
At the end of the day, it’s a sweet tale about what counts in families and the kids thought the film was fantastic. Harry scored the film at 13 out of 10 because as he says, “Mum, it’s a Panda. It’s a PANDA doing KUNG FU.” Apparently that explains everything. Charlie scored it as 10 out of 10 – I think he just liked the story, it moved at a good pace for him, and he got a whole bag of Maltesers to himself. As for me? I give the film a 5 out of 10. Why so low? Well, some people have nice warm dreams of movie stars like Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. Last night, after KFP2, I dreamed about Jack Black. Giving this movie a 5 is generous.

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