So, there, that's one New Year's resolution out of the way for me. A few months after the theatrical release of Kung Fu Panda 2, I was able to score an interview with its director, Jennifer Yuh Nelson. With the home video release of the film (in just about every format available, including Amazon Instant Video and a Blu-Ray boxed set that also includes the first KFP and a new short film, Secrets of the Masters), I felt it was time to raise some attention for this beautifully mounted, entertaining sequel.
KFP2 was, I felt, unjustly maligned in its original release. Thing is, what most critics seemed to feel was its greatest flaw -- not enough focus on lovable doofus panda Po (Jack Black) -- I saw as its greatest strength. Instead of the first film's fish-out-of-water scenario, the sequel uses Po's elevation to kung fu master to engage in a full embrace of Hong Kong action, casting him into a story that sees the panda facing off against a megalomaniacal peacock who has developed a weapon that may render martial arts obsolete: the cannon. It's Jackie Chan enhanced with a lush, animation style -- bridging over numerous formats, including 2D and shadow puppets -- and highlighted with exquisitely choreographed battle scenes; exciting, funny, and a dazzling visual feast. For the love of martial arts, or pure, bravura animation, you need to see this.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Nelson.