Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 - Movie

The adorable Panda is back and this time I promised myself that I would not make the mistake of missing it on screen. Kung Fu Panda is one of my favourite films with loads of stuff that I use from it about belief, about desiring something, about the world being what you think it is. Unfortunately I missed it on screen and viewed it only on the DVD. This time, though I was apprehensive about the 3D (of which I am always apprehensive - I don't much fancy the glasses nor the effects), I luckily located one theatre, PVR, which had a 2D show.

Po the Panda, the Dragon Warrior, has a new challenge. Shen the peacock, the heir to the Gongmen city, who has exterminated all Pandas earlier (including Po's parents) because a soothsayer had predicted that his fall would be at the hands of a white and black warrior, has returned to his city, years after being sent away by his horrified parents. The resentful Shen now has the power of fireworks and he uses them to kill Master Rhino who is thought to be invincible and who controls the city and puts Masters Ox and Crocodile in jail. The end of Kung Fu seems near as Shen plans to take over all of China with the help of his firepower. But he has to deal with Po and the Furious Five - Masters Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, Crane and Snake - first.

A symbol that is worn by Shen's soldiers distracts Po - he remembers the time when he was separated from his parents as a baby. This makes the Dragon Warrior fallible and the Furious Five take over the mantle of protecting Po and attacking Shen. After long and heavy fighting where the Five and Po inflict damage on Shen's army, the Peacock blows away the distracted Po with a cannon. Though everyone believes that the Dragon Warrior is now dead, he is rescued by the same soothsayer who predicted the Peacock's fall. The soothsayer also tells Po to go with the flow and not resist his past thoughts to know the truth about his parents and the Peacock.

Now Po sees clearly how he is separated from his parents by the Peacock. Po returns to see Shen and his armada loaded with the fireworks and the Five Masters of Kung Fu tied up. Po engages Shen in fierce battle, releases the Furious Five who fight along side him, and they are also joined by Masters Shifu, Ox and Croc. When Shen is threatening to destroy them all with his firepower and his cannons, Po finds a new technique with his new found inner peace to redirect the weapons of destruction and burn down the armada and kill Shen.

The animation is fantastic as it has always been. It simply blows your mind. The action is breathtaking, the philosophy as sound as it can ever get. The movie is completely absorbing. But as with most sequels, Kung Fu Panda 2 does not match up to the original. In terms of depth in content. The special effects and 3D stuff is surely as good as any with all the fireworks zooming but in terms of content, it has a tenth of the depth, the thought, the philosophy, that the first had. Don't get me wrong because it is one of the most entertaining movies yet - the characters are all as loveable and funny as they had been and the animation is simply too beautiful to miss. But it will not make me watch it again and again like the first did.

Still it has its gems like the one when Po tells Shen the Peacock at the very end, when Shen asks how Po managed to beat him and attain inner peace despite knowing what he has done to his parents. Po replies 'You must let go of the past. You can only choose what you want to be now!'

The last shot shows Po's real father sensing that his son is alive, even as Po meets Ping the goose, his adopted father and affirms that he is his son after all! Let not my slightly swayed critique (only because of my great love for the original) stop you from going to one of the truly great animation films, characters of all time along with some stunning visuals and wholesome entertainment. Kung Fu Panda is a truly great underdog movie of one who is just not ashamed to be himself whatever happens!

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