So much is expected from a sequel of a super-hit movie and luckily the Hollywood sequels are much less disappointing than the Bollywood ones. The moment the news came that Kung Fu Panda 2 is releasing, excitement and energy filled the atmosphere and everyone got into a squadooosh (Panda-style) mood.
For Po (Panda), it has been quiet a journey from being a waiter at his father's restaurant, cooking and cleaning, to accidentally being chosen as the Dragon Warrior. He is now part of the Furious Five - Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Monkey and Viper. Po is still training and being a real pain for Master Shifu, yet he has managed to become the favourite warrior for all. The last time, he had to prove his worth; and now is the time to apply whatever he has learnt till now. The peacock warrior Lord Shen is set to take revenge and take over entire China, eventually maybe the world (sounds like he has the traits of Hitler or Napoleon). Po is all set to destroy the art of Kung Fu with his super weapon, even if that means burning down his own ancestral home and killing his own people.
Po has grown from being a sloppy, obese Panda to a much fitter version of him (yeah, but that doesn't stop him from hogging as usual). Although initially it looked like maybe this will make him less adorable, that doesn't hold true at all. Right from the baby Po to the older version of him, both are as cute as anyone can get. Po's search for the question- "who am I?" suddenly brings a lot of depth in his character, finally making you believe that Po is not just a fat, cute, dumb Panda. The peacock is beautiful and although other characters don't have much scope in the fight between Po and Shen, they have done a good job. Po's father's character is also superb. The intricacies of a father-son relationship are tapped very well in this movie. When Po returns, all his father asks is- "So did you save China?"- It is like asking did you have dinner. This casual way of asking about his son's work and the care and love hidden beneath this strong exterior is very well portrayed. The father doesn't care if China is safe or not, what is more important is his son's wellbeing!
Now, I know I am talking about an animated movie and describing the acting skills of the characters seems really weird but trust me, the animation is so excellently done that you can actually make out the different expressions and feelings that the characters are trying to portray. Great animation, superbly done! The effects and work done on the character of Shen are amazing, especially the way his feathers move when he is fighting. The action sequences are very well choreographed (seeing so much dhishoom-dhishoom chances are that kids might tell their moms that they want to learn Kung Fu now). The movie splashes colours all over the place; it is almost like a festival of colours. The sound and music is also great. Even though he is our Po's enemy (although his real enemy is stairs), Shen's beautiful feathers and the way he uses them, make you go - Wow. All the dubbing artists' voices fit the characters perfectly and together they manage to form a great team.
Now coming to a little something that goes amiss in this movie - the speed... The first half of the movie, though entertaining, is really slow. Second half picks up momentum but overall the movie could've easily been made a bit shorter. Apart from this one thing, the movie is excellently made and the ending of the movie kind of indicates another sequel to it. Seeing the second part, I am already looking forward to part 3...and you?