Like the best movies, Kung Fu Panda 2 instantly transports the audience to somewhere exciting. Sure, The Far East is certainly no stranger to film, but you almost forget you’re watching something animated, even in plain ol’ 2-D. To wit, the expansive color palette and precise attention to detail are absolutely stunning.

Another unexpected, but welcome surprise is the visual enhancements made to these lovable protagonists themselves. Crafted with far more lifelike precision and larger-than-life personality, the production looks less like a so-so video game and more like big-budget production—a real credit to the DreamWorks team.

And along with all that style, there’s actually plenty of heart, too. Po may be riding quite the proverbial emotional rollercoaster in Kung Fu Panda 2, but like the most engaging storytelling, the lessons aren’t too preachy. Still, the story manages to say a little something, which makes watching Kung Fu Panda 2 even more of a pleasure for the whole family.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: None.
  • Language/Profanity: None, just some name-calling like “idiot” and “tubby.”
  • Sex/Nudity: A discussion of where geese come from doesn’t go very far.
  • Violence: The marital arts action is very similar to the first film with plenty of kicking, hitting and throwing. Nothing too intense, but it’s definitely pervasive. There are also plenty of perilous situations played for laughs where characters get smacked in the face, fall from particularly high structures and find themselves in harm’s way thanks to blazing fireballs.
  • Thematic Material/Religion: Some emotionally charged discussion about being adopted.  There’s also some talk of finding your “inner peace,” but it’s far less prevalent here than in the original Kung Fu Panda.
     

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.