Kung Fu Panda 2

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Kung Fu Panda 2
Kung Fu Panda 2 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJennifer Yuh Nelson
Produced byMelissa Cobb
Written by
Starring
Music byHans Zimmer
John Powell
Edited byClare Knight
Production
company
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • May 22, 2011 (2011-05-22) (Hollywood premiere)
  • May 26, 2011 (2011-05-26) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150 million[2]
Box office$665.7 million[1]

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a 2011 American computer-animated wuxia comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The sequel to Kung Fu Panda (2008), it is the second installment in the Kung Fu Panda franchise. The film was directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (in her feature directorial debut). It became the first major American animated film to be solely directed by a female director and the first major American animated film to be directed by an Asian-American.[3] It stars Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, and Jackie Chan reprising their character roles from the first film, with Gary Oldman, Michelle Yeoh, Danny McBride, Dennis Haysbert, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Victor Garber voicing new characters.

In the film, Po and the Furious Five battle an evil white peacock ruler named Lord Shen, who has a powerful weapon that he plans to use to conquer China. Meanwhile, Po discovers a terrifying secret about his past, and discovers that Shen may have something to do with it. Compared to its predecessor, Kung Fu Panda 2 employs a much darker tone paired with a far more threatening antagonist in the form of Lord Shen, and tackles more difficult and complex themes, such as adoption.

The film was released in theaters on May 26, 2011 in 2D, RealD 3D, and Digital 3D. Like its predecessor, Kung Fu Panda 2 received positive reviews, with critics praising its animation, voice acting, action sequences, musical score, and character development. It grossed $665 million worldwide against its $150 million budget, becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a female director until Frozen (2013), as the well as the highest-grossing film solely directed by a female director until Wonder Woman (2017). The film was the highest-grossing animated feature film of the year and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 84th Academy Awards, losing to Rango. Nelson became the first woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature since Marjane Satrapi for Persepolis (2007). The sequel, Kung Fu Panda 3, was released in January 2016.

Plot[edit]

In the past, the peacock rulers of Gongmen City are forced to exile their only son Lord Shen, after he kills all pandas in the area to avert a prophecy of a panda being his doom. In the present, Lord Shen and his wolf army start to raid villages for scrap metal.

Meanwhile, Po is enjoying his new role as a Kung Fu Master alongside the Furious Five, though Master Shifu warns him he has not yet achieved true inner peace and tries to train him accordingly. When the Wolf Boss raids the Musicians' Village, Po and the Five intercept him; however, he manages to escape with the metal when Po is distracted by a symbol on his armor. Po confronts Mr. Ping, and the goose reveals that baby Po arrived in a shipment of radishes outside his restaurant. When no one came forward to claim the cub, Ping adopted Po as his son. Po and the Five are dispatched across the sea to Gongmen City next, after learning Shen has made cannons and used one to kill Master Thundering Rhino, who had been left as regent of the city. Shen and his army have proceeded to take over and terrorize Gongmen City, though Shen's goat soothsayer still warns him of his impending defeat.

On the voyage to Gongmen, Master Tigress notices Po is distraught, and Po admits to her Mr. Ping is not his real dad. Upon arrival, they are captured and brought before Shen. Shen is amused by Po's innocence and prepares to kill them all without ever letting Po know he had reason for revenge, but Master Mantis, who was not captured, frees Po and the rest of the Five. They destroy one of the cannons, but Po sees the same symbol from before on Shen's plumage, which distracts him long enough for Shen to escape and destroy Gongmen Palace with his cannonade. The soothsayer again tries to stop him, but Shen banishes her from his presence. At Gongmen Jail, Tigress confronts Po, and Po tells her he has remembered that Shen was there the day he was abandoned, therefore he must return to Shen in order to uncover the whole truth, which he does not believe Tigress (whom he regards as "hardcore") understands. Then, the Five leave Po in the jail and proceed to Shen's cannon factory with the intent to blow it up. However, Po follows and confronts Shen, inadvertently spoiling the plan and allowing the Five to be captured. Shen callously tells Po his parents hated him, then shoots at him with a cannon.

Badly wounded but alive, Po floats downriver and is rescued by the soothsayer. She tells him the truth about the panda genocide, which she blames herself for, and encourages him to embrace his past. Po, finally achieving inner peace, is able to recall that his father went down fighting, while his mother hid him in a radish crate and drew off Shen's army so he could survive. Rejuvenated, Po returns to Gongmen City, where Shen is sailing downriver with his cannons and army to start his invasion of China. Po frees the Five, and they are able to wreck the foremost ships and prevent Shen's forces from reaching the harbor. Shen fires the cannon, killing some of his own wolves, to clear the way. Po stands alone against Shen, who survives from the blast, using his inner peace training to deflect the cannon balls shot at him back at Shen's own ships and destroying them one by one. Shen attacks Po with a spear, inadvertently severing the lines holding up one of the cannons. The cannon falls and explodes, killing Shen.

Back at the Valley, Po is tearfully reunited with Mr. Ping, and calls him "dad" again. Meanwhile, at a secret panda village in the mountains, where Po's biological father Li Shan, who senses his son is alive, and the other pandas have taken refuge.[N 1]

Voice 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,[4] which was changed by 2010 to The Kaboom of Doom[5] 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 every DreamWorks Animation film from Monsters vs. Aliens onward, 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,[6] with Charlie Kaufman consulting[7][8] on the screenplay early on in the development process.[9]

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 including production designer Raymond Zibach and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson visited the city of Chengdu, which is considered as the "panda hometown".[10] In addition to seeing real pandas at the Giant Panda Research Centre, the production designer crew members learned about the local culture. Katzenberg has stated that the sequel incorporates many elements of Chengdu in the film.[11] The film's landscape and architecture also found inspiration from those found at Mount Qingcheng, a renowned Taoist mountain.[12] In an interview with the China Daily, Zibach recounted that the Panda research center influenced the movie in a big way, as did their experience of holding a month old panda cub named A Bao, which gave the idea for baby Po in a flashback.[13] It also gave them the idea of featuring Sichuan Food like Mapo toufu and Dandan noodles.[14] 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 a mythical, universalized China for everyone in the world."[15][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, 2011, 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 an episode of the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness television series.[20] As of February 2013, 6.5 million home entertainment units were sold worldwide.[21]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 81% based on 181 reviews, and an average rating of 6.91/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "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] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[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 $165.2 million in the United States and Canada, along with $500.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $665.7 million.[1] In total, 3D contributed approximately 53% of the film's worldwide gross.[33] Worldwide, it is the sixth highest-grossing film of 2011[34] and the 26th highest-grossing animated film. 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.[35] It was the highest-grossing film directed by a woman until Frozen two years later, as the well as the highest-grossing film directed solely by a woman until Wonder Woman.[36]

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 first film'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 first film'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 million).[46] It held the record until 2015, when it was surpassed by Chinese Monkey King: Hero Is Back.[47] The Asian-themed film scored the largest opening weekend for an animated film in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, in South Korea and Thailand.[48][49] It became the highest-grossing film released in Vietnam, surpassing Avatar.[50][51]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
Academy Awards[52] Best Animated Feature Jennifer Yuh Nelson Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[53] Best Animated Film Kung Fu Panda 2
Best Animated Female Angelina Jolie
Best Woman Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Annie Awards[54][55] Best Animated Feature Melissa Cobb
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
ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films Hans Zimmer and John Powell Won
1st Behind the Voice Actors Awards[56] Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film Kung Fu Panda 2
Best Female Vocal Performance in a Feature Film Angelina Jolie Nominated
Best Male Vocal Performance in a Feature Film Gary Oldman
Critics' Choice Awards[57] Best Animated Feature Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Golden Reel Awards[58] Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR in an Animation Feature Film John Marquis
Golden Tomato Awards 2011[59] Best Animated Film Kung Fu Panda 2 5th Place
Denver Film Critics Society[60] Best Animated Film Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society[61] Best Animated Film
Kids' Choice Awards[62] Favorite Animated Movie
Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Jack Black
Online Film Critics Society[63] Best Animated Feature Melissa Cobb
People's Choice Awards[64] Favorite Movie Animated Voice Jack Black
Producers Guild of America Awards[65] Best Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures Melissa Cobb
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards[66] Best Animated Film Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Mellisa Cobb
Satellite Awards[67] Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Kung Fu Panda 2
Saturn Awards[68] Best Animated Film
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards[69] Best Animated Film Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Teen Choice Awards[70] Choice Movie Animated Voice Jack Black
Visual Effects Society Awards[71] Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Melissa Cobb, Alex Parkinson, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Raymond Zibach
Women Film Critics Circle[72] Best Animated Females Kung Fu Panda 2

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.[73]

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.[73]

Merchandise was also 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 released books tied to the film.[73]

Soundtrack[edit]

Kung Fu Panda 2:
Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMay 24, 2011
Recorded2011
GenreScore
Length64:26[74][75]
LabelVarèse Sarabande
ProducerHans Zimmer
John Powell
Hans Zimmer film scores chronology
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
(2011)
Kung Fu Panda 2:
Music from the Motion Picture

(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.[76]

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 was released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS platforms. The plot 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]

A sequel, Kung Fu Panda 3, was released on January 29, 2016.[77] It was directed again by Jennifer Yuh Nelson,[78] and was produced in co-production with the Chinese-American studio Oriental DreamWorks.[79]

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in 2010 that the series could see three more sequels after Kung Fu Panda 3, bringing it to a six-film series.[80]

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 titled Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness aired on Nickelodeon from September 19, 2011 to June 29, 2016. The show ran for three seasons and had a total of 78 episodes.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As depicted in the 2016 film Kung Fu Panda 3.

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