With animated films one of the most important elements is the voice cast. Ku Fu Panda 2 has an excellent one with Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogan, Jack Black, Michelle Yeoh, and Dennis Haysbert. Gary Oldman is especially good. He steals pretty much every scene he is in with his over-the-top lunatic voice. Every nuance in his voice indicates how insane and evil he is. Oldman makes Lord Shen the type of villain you love to hate.
Whereas the goofy Po/Jack Black is just a character you love. While he is still more fun than a barrel of monkeys a deeper dimension is added to Po. As a character Po comes into his own.
Behind all the fun, warm animation and kung fu there are great messages about family, friendship, loyalty, greed, evil, and identity. Jennifer Yoh Nelson (television series – Spawn) does not beat you over the head with them, but they are definitely there. A great balancing of light and dark. Humour tempers the serious aspects making it palatable for younger viewers.
Po (Jack Black – King Kong – 2005, School of Rock) and the Furious Five, Tigress (Angelina Jolie – Mr & Mrs Smith, Changeling), Monkey (Jackie Chan – Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon), Mantis (Seth Rogan – Pineapple Express, The Green Hornet), Viper (Lucy Liu – Kill Bill, Vol. 1, Charlie’s Angels), and Crane (David Cross – Alvin and the Chipmunks, Kung Fu Panda), have to defend the land from Lord Shen (Gary Oldman – Batman Begins, The Fifth Element) of Gongman City. Shen, a peacock who was banished by his parents when he was a child due to his inappropriate behaviour, has a new weapon that could mean the end of kung fu.
Po and the other kung fu masters are having a tough time doing just that because there is something bothering po. He is having debilitating flashbacks to his past. Just before he left Po discovered that he was not Mr. Ping’s (James Hong – Blade Runner, Mulan) son. Po was discovered in a basket by Mr. Ping and he raised the panda as his own. Po is up against a tough opponent with much on his mind.
-Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters
-The Animator’s Corner
-Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness
-Kickin’ It With the Cast