I had high hopes for Kung Fu Panda 2. In 2008, Kung Fu Panda was an awesome little surprise from Dreamworks Animation that actually managed to outgross Pixar’s Wall-E worldwide that same summer. I thought that the trailers for Kung Fu Panda 2 were nice, but they didn’t get me THAT excited for the film. I was hoping they were saving the best stuff for the movie and they certainly did.
Going into a movie called Kung Fu Panda, you expect to see some bad ass kung fu action and this movie didn’t disappoint. The action scenes are equally as enthralling and imaginative as the first movie. It feels like the first film on steroids, everything bigger and badder than ever.
Really dug the style of the action. If you watch Jackie Chan films or martial arts films in general, the style is very distinct for the most part. The way they are pieced together is hard hitting with quick cuts every few seconds. I love the fact that Dreamworks realizes that with a CGI film, this isn’t necessary because the camera is in virtual space and can go anywhere at anytime. The animators can make the actions of the characters perfect and put the camera wherever they please. This gives us a more unique martial arts experience because you never see martial arts shot in single long takes because it’s too difficult to get all the choreography perfectly correct in one take. In Kung Fu Panda 2, we see action scenes that are shot in a way you would NEVER see in a convention martial arts film.
I like the fact that just because they were making a kids movie, they didn’t dumb down the storyline and they gave the characters actual depth. The whole storyline with Po and his dad brought a tear to my eye. I’m surprised that the consensus on RottenTomatoes says that it’s too similar to the first when the storylines are very different. They both deal with taking down big villains, but in the first, Po trains to become the Dragon Warrior and in the second, Po learns about his past.
I loved Gary Oldman as Lord Shen, but I had a little trouble with him as the villain. I think that his motivations and character development were on par with Tai Lung in the first film, but I don’t think that Lord Shen was ever as intimidating as Tai Lung. The fact that Lord Shen admitted his Kung Fu wasn’t as good as the other masters and they had so many jokey type moments with him took away from how intimidating he was as a whole.
I also thought that the film took too long to get the story going. The audience is treated to a wonderful opening sequence which sort of explains what’s going on and it takes far too long for Po to understand the relevance of Lord Shen to his life. Other than that, the pacing of the film was very well balanced between action scenes and character moments.
Minor nitpicks aside, Kung Fu Panda 2 delivers and matches (in some cases exceeds) the action, story, and character development of the first film. Truly beautiful animation, a fantastic score (John Powell AND Hans Zimmer!? FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS!), and one of a kind action scenes that will thrill and excite you. Go see Kung Fu Panda 2 this weekend and you will have a pretty kick ass time.
So I watched The Tourist last night and good Lord what a terrible movie. Everyone said Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie were bad in the movie, but I couldn’t believe that two highly charismatic and charming actors could be THAT bad. Paul Bettany was BEYOND terrible as well and the only upside was Timothy Dalton who was a BOSS haha. The romance was wholly unbelievable, there’s nothing on screen that makes the audience invested in what is happening on screen. The thriller elements are extremely weak, once again, there’s no reason to care about what’s happening! What makes a good thriller is tension, stakes, and ingenuity. It’s no fun to watch someone walk and then see a bunch of people frantically trying to follow someone without any of those three elements. Not to mention the glaring score that tries to “amp up” the tension throughout the movie, when in reality I’m just thinking “is this supposed to be tense? Am I supposed to be on the edge of my seat or something?” Last but not least, the unbelievably predictable plot. Before we even booted up the movie, I said to Josh “okay this is what I think the ending is…” (obviously not going to say it here, not going to spoil it, but it’s so OBVIOUS) and when that really was the ending, I was like “are you fucking serious? I guessed the ending right out the gates?” Maybe I just watch too many movies, I don’t know… I’m super disappointed with director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. His previous film The Lives of Others is such an amazing film, it’s sad to see that his American film debut is The Tourist. Here’s to hoping all parties involved in this mess can move on to bigger and better things SMH.
I really hope that The Tourist is good because then it’ll prove my theory that Johnny Depp REALLY needs to work with directors NOT named Tim Burton. The cast is stacked with Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, and Timothy FUCKING Dalton. Plus the director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, directed The Lives of Others which was an amazing film (it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of 2006). The only thing that’s causing concern for me is that there’s three credited screenwriters, which is usually a recipe for disaster oftentimes. Also, no early reviews and the movie comes out in a week. I hope this movie is good!