Kung Fu Panda 2

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Kung Fu Panda 2
Kung Fu Panda 2 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Produced by Melissa Cobb
Written by Jonathan Aibel
Glenn Berger
Charlie Kaufman (uncredited)[1]
Story by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (uncredited)[2]
Starring Jack Black
Angelina Jolie
Dustin Hoffman
Gary Oldman
Jackie Chan
Seth Rogen
Lucy Liu
David Cross
James Hong
Michelle Yeoh
Danny McBride
Dennis Haysbert
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Victor Garber
Music by Hans Zimmer
John Powell
Edited by Clare Knight
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • May 22, 2011 (2011-05-22) (Hollywood premiere)
  • May 26, 2011 (2011-05-26)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[3]
Box office $665.7 million[4]

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a 2011 3D American computer-animated action comedy-drama martial arts film, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, produced by DreamWorks Animation, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It is the sequel to the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda and the second installment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise. In the film, Po and his friends battle to stop a would-be conqueror Lord Shen with his powerful new weapon, with the giant panda discovering a disquieting link to his past in the process. The cast of the original film reprised their voice roles while the new villain, Lord Shen is voiced by Gary Oldman.

The film was released on May 26, 2011 in Real D 3D and Digital 3D. Kung Fu Panda 2 received positive reviews, with critics praising its animation, voice acting, action scenes and character development. It was also a commercial success surpassing the original film and, like the original film, was the highest grossing animated feature film of the year. The film was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 84th Academy Awards.

A sequel, titled Kung Fu Panda 3, and directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, is scheduled to be released on December 23, 2015.[5]

Plot[edit]

An opening prologue tells that, years before the events of the first film, Lord Shen, the son of a peacock clique warlord that rules Gongmen City in ancient China, seeks to harness fireworks as a weapon. After discovering from the court's goat Soothsayer that "a warrior of black-and-white" will defeat him if he does not change his ways, Shen leads an army to exterminate the panda population to avert the prophecy. Shen's parents are horrified at this atrocity and exile their son.

In the present day,[6] Po is living his dream as the Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, the Furious Five. His teacher Shifu tells him, however, that he has yet to achieve inner peace. While defending a village from wolf bandits who have been stealing refined metal for Shen, Po is distracted by a symbol on the wolf leader's armor, which causes Po to have a flashback of his mother and allows the wolves to escape. Po asks his goose father, Mr. Ping, about his origins. Ping reveals that he found Po as an infant in a radish crate and adopted him, but Po remains unsatisfied, wondering how and why he wound up in the Valley of Peace, to begin with.

Shifu receives word that Shen has killed Thundering Rhino, the leader of the kung fu council protecting Gongmen City, and is plotting to destroy kung fu tradition and conquer China with his newly developed weapon, a hand cannon (also called a Gonne), which shot weaponized fireworks. Po and the Furious Five set out to Gongmen City to stop Shen and destroy his weapon. They find the city occupied by Shen's forces, with the two surviving council members Storming Ox and Croc imprisoned. The six heroes ask the council members for help to liberate the city, but the two cite their helplessness against Shen's weapon and refuse. Po and the Five are discovered by the wolf leader and give chase, only to be captured and arrested in front of Shen's tower.

Upon being brought before Shen in his tower, Po and the Five free themselves and destroy Shen's weapon. However, Po is again distracted by a flashback upon seeing the same symbol as before on Shen's plumage, allowing Shen to escape and destroy the tower with an arsenal of cannons. After Po and the Five escape, Tigress confronts Po over his distraction, who reluctantly explains that he remembers Shen's presence on the night he was separated from his parents, and wants answers about his past from Shen. Though empathetic, Tigress tells Po to stay behind for his own safety. Despite this, Po breaks into the factory to question Shen, inadvertently foiling the Five's plan to destroy the factory. Shen claims that Po's parents abandoned him, and then blasts Po out of the factory into a river with the hand cannon.

Po survives and is rescued by the same Soothsayer, who takes him to the ruins of the nearby village where Po was born. Guided by the Soothsayer to embrace his past, Po remembers that when he was an infant, his parents had sacrificed themselves to save him from Shen's army, his mother hiding him in a radish crate and luring Shen's forces away from him. Po attains inner peace, realizing that he has lived a happy and fulfilling life despite this early tragedy.

Po returns to Gongmen City to save the captive Five and prevent Shen's conquest of China. During the ensuing battle (in which Ox and Croc participate after being persuaded by Shifu, who also helps), Po modifies the movements used during his inner peace training to redirect Shen's firework shells against his own armada, destroying it. Po then urges Shen to let go of his own past, but Shen attacks Po until Po slashes the ropes holding up his last Gonne mortar, which falls and crushes Shen to death. Victorious, Po returns to the Valley of Peace and reunites with Mr. Ping, lovingly declaring the goose to be his father. At the same time, Po's biological father is shown to be living in a far-off, hidden village inhabited by surviving pandas, and senses that his son is still alive.

Cast[edit]

Black in June 2011, at the Kung Fu Panda 2 premiere in Sydney

Production[edit]

After the original Kung Fu Panda was released in June 2008, DreamWorks Animation planned a second film with the subtitle Pandamoneum,[7] which was changed by 2010 to The Kaboom of Doom[8] before simply being retitled to Kung Fu Panda 2. Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who was head of story for the first film, was hired to direct the sequel. The original film's cast members reprised their voice roles. Like the other DreamWorks Animation films that began production in 2009, Kung Fu Panda 2 was produced in DreamWorks' stereoscopic 3-D technology of InTru 3D.

Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, screenwriters and co-producers for the first film, returned to write and co-produce the sequel,[9] with Charlie Kaufman consulting[10][11] on the screenplay early on in the development process.[12]

In Kung Fu Panda 2, the production crew showed increased familiarity with Chinese culture. In 2008, after the release of Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and other DreamWorks members visited the city of Chengdu, which is considered as the "panda hometown".[13] In addition to seeing real pandas, crew members learned about the local culture. Katzenberg has stated that the sequel incorporates many elements of Chengdu in the film.[14] The film's landscape and architecture also found inspiration from those found at Mount Qingcheng, a renowned Taoist mountain.[15] In an interview with Movieline, Berger stated that "we never really thought of this as a movie set in China for Americans; it's a movie set in an mythical, universalized China for everyone in the world."[16]

Release[edit]

Kung Fu Panda 2 was screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in early May before its commercial release.[17] In the United States, it premiered on May 22, 2014, at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, in Hollywood, California.[18] The film was widely released in the United States on May 26, 2011, in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2011, and in Australia on June 23, 2011. It was also released in IMAX theaters in the EMEA region.[19]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 13, 2011, accompanied with the short film Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters and a sneak peek of the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness television series.[20]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Kung Fu Panda 2 received positive reviews, with critics praising its animation, voice acting, and character development. It was also a commercial success surpassing the original film and, like the original film, was the highest grossing animated feature film of the year. As of 2014, it is the second highest-grossing film directed by a woman.[21]

The film received 81% positive reviews on the film-critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on reviews from 167 critics and a rating average of 6.9 out of 10, with the consensus being that "The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate."[22] It also received a weighted average score of 67 out of 100 at Metacritic, based on 31 reviews from mainstream critics.[23]

Variety called the film "a worthy sequel that gets an extra kick from the addition of dynamic 3D fight sequences,"[24] while The Hollywood Reporter similarly praised the film.[25] Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, praising the sequel as superior to the original and as an ambitious extension of the previous story.[26]

Some critics noted the influences of executive producer Guillermo del Toro's works in the film's darker themes,[27] and Jim Tudor of TwitchFilm.net describes that with del Toro on board, the film "effectively probes deeper into Po's emerging hero's journey and personal issues, evoking a truly fulfilling Campbellian archetype, but also remains fully viable as mainstream entertainment suitable for all ages."[28]

As with the first film, the animation has been praised. Frank Lovece of Film Journal International describes the film as "truly beautiful to behold" and states it "works on both aesthetic and emotional levels".[29] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times writes that "For Panda 2 is not just wall-to-wall animation, it is artistry of the highest order."[30] Many critics praised Gary Oldman for his voice acting and developed characterization of Lord Shen, with some comparing him favorably to Ian McShane's voice performance as Tai Lung in the original film, with Angie Errigo of Empire Magazine calling him "fabulous as the feathered fiend and his character animators do his performance proud with a stunning, balletic fighting style, the fan tail flicking with lethal fascination."[31] Kyle Smith of the New York Post said, "It's a bit hard to be terrified of a peacock (the snow leopard in the first movie was way more sinister). But the animators are in charge, and they succeed in dazzling with Lord Shen's look."[32]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $165,249,063 in the United States and Canada, along with $500,443,218 in other territories for a worldwide total of $665,692,281, surpassing the original Kung Fu Panda during late-August 2011 but the North American gross did not surpass the original.[4] In total, 3D contributed approximately 53% of the film's worldwide gross.[33] Worldwide, it is the highest-grossing 2011 animated film and the sixth highest-grossing film of 2011.[34] Overall, it is the 14th highest-grossing animated film and the 69th highest-grossing film.[35] On its first weekend, it earned $108.9 million worldwide, ranking third behind Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Hangover Part II.[36] It is also the highest-grossing film directed by a woman.[21]

In North America, the film earned $5.8 million on its opening day (Thursday, May 26, 2011), ranking second behind The Hangover: Part II.[37] On Friday, the film earned $13.1 million, which was behind the original's $20.3 million opening Friday.[38] Over the three-day weekend (Friday-to-Sunday), the film earned $47.7 million, which was behind the original's $60.2 million debut.[39] The film went on to make $13.2 million on Memorial Day, bringing its 4-day weekend to $60.9 million.[40]

Outside North America, the film debuted with $55.5 million on the same weekend as its North American debut, topping the box office in nine out of eleven countries in which it was released. It ranked third overall behind Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Hangover Part II.[41] The film topped the box office outside North America on two consecutive weekends (its third and fourth weekend).[42][43]

In China, its highest-grossing market after North America, two different grosses were reported, one a $19.3 million two-day weekend and the other a $16.7 million two-day weekend. Either way, the film set an opening-day record in the country.[44][45] It earned $93.19 million in total, making it the highest-grossing animated film released in China, surpassing previous record-holder Kung Fu Panda ($26,024,298).[46] The Asian-themed movie scored the largest opening weekend for an animated film in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, in South Korea and Thailand.[47][48] It became the highest-grossing film released in Vietnam, surpassing Avatar.[49][50]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
84th Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Jennifer Yuh Nelson Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Animated Film
Best Animated Female Angelina Jolie
Best Woman Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature
Animated Effects in an Animated Production Dave Tidgwell
Jason Mayer
Character Animation in a Feature Production Dan Wagner
Pierre Perifel
Directing in a Feature Production Jennifer Yuh Nelson Won
Production Design in a Feature Production Raymond Zilbac
Storyboarding in a Feature Production Gary Graham
Philip Craven
Nominated
Voice Acting in a Feature Production Gary Oldman
Voice Acting in a Feature Production James Hong
Editing in a Feature Production Clare Knight
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Feature
Online Film Critics Society Best Animated Feature
Producers Guild of America Awards Best Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures Melissa Cobb
2011 Teen Choice Awards[51] Choice Movie Animated Voice Jack Black
Virgin Media Movie Awards Best Family Movie Of The Year
Women Film Critics Circle Best Animated Females
2012 People's Choice Awards[52] Favorite Movie Animated Voice Jack Black
Denver Film Critics Society Best Animated Film
Satellite Awards Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Houston Film Critics Society Best Animated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Film
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Animated Film
Evening Standard British Film Awards Blockbuster of the Year
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Animated Movie
Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Jack Black
World Soundtrack Awards Film Composer of the Year Hans Zimmer
World Soundtrack Awards Film Composer of the Year John Powell
Saturn Awards Best Animated Film
As Seen By Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Voice-Over Role Angelina Jolie
Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR in an Animation Feature Film John Marquis

Marketing[edit]

DreamWorks Animation has invested $100 million in creating promotional partners and building up marketing for its films. For Kung Fu Panda 2, DWA has partnerships with McDonald's, AT&T, Best Buy, General Mills (cereals), Sun-Maid (raisins), Airheads (candy), Hint Water and HP. The film's characters are used in products and advertising campaigns across various media. The studio is also pursuing social media efforts to promote the film.[53]

DWA partnered with House Foods America to brand its products, notably tofu, with advertising of the film. Variety reported that the partnership was the first-ever between a film studio and a tofu company. The studio also enlisted the parade balloon of Po from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to tour in six cities, concluding with Los Angeles over Memorial Day weekend in late May 2011.[53]

Merchandise is also being produced for the film: Fisher-Price (toys), THQ (video games), Hallmark (cards), and Jem Sportswear (apparel). Publishers VTech, Penguin Books, Dalmatian Press, and Ape Entertainment are releasing books tied to the film.[53]

Soundtrack[edit]

Kung Fu Panda 2:
Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Hans Zimmer & John Powell
Released May 24, 2011
Recorded 2011
Genre Score
Length 64:26[54][55]
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Hans Zimmer
John Powell
Hans Zimmer film scores chronology
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
(2011)
Kung Fu Panda 2
(2011)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
(2011)
John Powell film scores chronology
Rio
(2011)
Kung Fu Panda 2
(2011)
Happy Feet Two
(2011)

Kung Fu Panda 2 is the soundtrack of the film of the same name, collaboratively scored by Hans Zimmer and John Powell and originally released on May 24, 2011.[56]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Ancient China / Story of Shen"   2:43
2. "Dumpling Warrior"   1:19
3. "Inner Peace"   2:26
4. "Musicians Village"   1:20
5. "Save Kung Fu"   3:41
6. "Daddy Issues"   4:22
7. "Stealth Mode"   4:04
8. "Gongmen Jail"   2:40
9. "Rickshaw Chase"   2:36
10. "Po and Shen / Face to Face"   5:58
11. "More Cannons!"   3:00
12. "Fireworks Factory"   6:49
13. "Po Finds the Truth"   5:04
14. "Invasion Begins"   2:37
15. "Zen Ball Master"   7:21
16. "My Fist Hungers for Justice"   4:55
17. "Dumpling Warrior Remix"   3:31
Total length:
64:26

Video game[edit]

A video game adaptation of the film was developed by Griptonite Games and published by THQ on May 23, 2011. The game takes place after the events of the film, and features Po and the rest of the Furious Five troubled by an evil group of komodo dragon mercenaries. With the help of the other kung fu masters, Po has to uncover the plot behind this siege and put a stop to it.

Sequels[edit]

Main article: Kung Fu Panda 3

A sequel, Kung Fu Panda 3, is scheduled to be released on December 23, 2015.[5] It will be directed again by Jennifer Yuh Nelson,[5] and will be produced in co-production with the Chinese-American studio Oriental DreamWorks.[57]

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has said that perhaps the series could see three more sequels after Kung Fu Panda 3, bringing it to a six-film series.[58]

Other media[edit]

Beside the main films, Kung Fu Panda franchise also consists of three short films Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five, Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special and Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters. A television series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness has been airing on the Nickelodeon channel since 2011.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]