It's been awhile since I've been to theater. After the Best Picture Showcase where I spent over 12 hours watching movies straight, I was kinda theater tapped out. Plus there hadn't been anything coming out lately that I absolutely had to see. Kung Fu Panda 2 was one that I was excited about but due to trying to conserve funds, I figured that I could wait until it came out on DVD. But then as luck would have it, I had gotten a coupon for a free large popcorn AND a large drink and a GC with about 3 bucks on it. If I went during the early matinee shows, that means I only had to spend $3 bucks on my whole outing. Also my sister had gone to see KFP2 and told me she bawled while watching. Since the two of us tend to cry at the same movie, that totally sold me on going. Yes, I love a good cryfest at the theater.
If you haven't seen the first Kung Fu Panda movie, I highly recommend watching it. It is probably my family's favorite non Pixar/non Disney animated film. The writing is fresh and funny and all the voices are perfectly done. Plus the movie is so respectful to the Chinese culture and since my family is Chinese (well Dad is honorary) we totally loved it. It's one of those movies we can watch over and over again and never get bored and still laugh hysterically at. For example, I still die every time Po kicks the broken vase that contains the souls of ancient warriors. It's the fact that after the initial moment has passed, he accidentally bumps into it again and they still moan. It's freaking hilarious and it always takes me a while to calm down after seeing it.
Seeing as how sequels can either be a hit or a miss, I was a bit worried when I heard that KFP was going to have a sequel. The first one was so wonderful, how could they possibly top it? Well first off, by adding awesome voice talent including Michelle Yeoh, Gary Oldman (Sirius Black!), and Victor Garber just to name a few. Then you make the story even better and more emotional! Also the animation is top notch and the score is both fun and dramatic at the same time.
Some spoilers ahead but one of them is rather obvious and if you honestly did not figure this out from the first movie, I do not what to do tell you.
There were several scenes that I started crying quite hard. They all involved Po and his connections to his family. The first was when Po confronts his dad, Mr. Ping, about his true parentage. It's a bit hilarious because it's played off that both were under the illusion that Po didn't know that there was no way that a duck could not be the biological dad of a panda. But it's so emotional to see his dad tell the story of how he found Po and decided to raise him as his son. There is a lot of love shown there. At the same time, it's understandable that Po is confused about how he feels and wonders what really happened to his true parents. Mr. Ping is sad now because he's afraid that Po will not come back home after he finds out the truth. Then I started sobbing again when Po finds out what really happened to his parents. The scene with him and his mother is so heartbreaking. Those are sad tears. But then there are happy tears again, when Po comes back to his dad and tells him he loves him and that he IS his son. Seriously, freakin paper napkins were soaked at this point.
The overall movie is fun, adventurous, action pack and shows good teamwork. It's hilarious in all the right places, with a great villain, and shows good friendships. And as I said before, it's extremely respectful to Chinese culture. Don't be afraid of seeing it just because it's animated. It's a downright great movie and I loved watching it and can't wait to see it again. The ending hints a third movie and as long as they follow the same direction as these two, I expect nothing but success.