Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2011. DreamWorks Animation. Screenplay by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger. Produced by Melissa Cobb. Music by John Powell, Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Tang Kheng Heng. Film Editing by Maryann Brandon, Clare De Chenu. Academy Awards 2011.
The cuddly martial arts hero who bested all odds returns for another adventure in this colourful sequel to the 2008 hit. Jack Black voices panda bear Po once again as he and his team of superb warriors are dispatched to save the land of China from an evil peacock (Gary Oldman) who would try and place the nation under his tyrannical rule. Getting close to the villain, Po discovers that the big bad bird also has ties to his own tragic origins, and cannot resist the opportunity to learn about the circumstances that led to him being raised by a restaurateur duck. The original cast of Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and Dustin Hoffman return, plus the addition of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Haysbert and Victor Garber for a film that does not measure up to its original for freshness or fun; following a film that did a superb job of hanging a flimsy plot on a number of terrific jokes, this one suffers from a far too sober reliance on heavy narrative. The writers barely indulge themselves in any humorous slapstick, as if they used up all their gags the first time around, and instead rely on intricate twists and turns that are never particularly inspiring. Even the animation fails to be as dazzlingly beautiful as its predecessor, but while it is not much more than a passable continuation of the first film, it is not a bad way to spend your time, and the youngsters certainly will not regret it.