Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG)
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The sequel to Kung Fu Panda. The first thing I should say is that for a lot of this movie, I was thinking it wasn't quite as good as the first. But before it was over, I had decided to give it at least one heart... and then I checked out my review of the original, and was a bit surprised I'd only given it two and a half smileys. I really need to see that again, maybe I'll like it better the second time. I find it hard to believe the second movie is actually better than the first, but maybe it is, I dunno. Probably not. Hell, maybe I'll lower my rating of the sequel, the next time I watch this movie.
Anyway, Po is now, of course, the Dragon Warrior, and officially the sixth member of the Furious Five. (Maybe they should think about renaming themselves?) Of course, he's still as goofy as ever, but way more confident in his skills. But Shifu has one more lesson to teach, which involves attaining "inner peace." This is made more difficult when Po discovers he's adopted. (Well, it didn't shock him, or anyone else for that matter, but for the first time in his life, he has reason to start thinking about where he actually came from and who he really is.) So that answers one question from the first movie (how can a goose be a panda's father?) Although before Po even has reason to start thinking about all that, the movie opens with some backstory that basically spoils the answer for us. So I guess I can't be faulted for spoiling it for you, dear reader. It rather has to be told, because it sets up the whole plot of the movie. See, long ago, there was this family of royal peacocks, who invented fireworks. The son of this family was named Shen, and he came up with a new, destructive use for fireworks (or technically, the gunpowder used to create fireworks). A soothsayer goat predicted that if he stayed on his current path, he would be defeated by a warrior of black and white (which presumably means a panda). So Shen took his army of wolves and killed all the pandas (though obviously he missed one). His parents were horrified by what he'd done, and banished Shen. But he vowed to return someday and get his revenge.
Of course, that day has now come. Shen and his army (and their cannon) take back his old palace, which is now in the hands of some Kung Fu masters, including Thundering Rhino, Storming Ox, and Croc. He beats them, but later Master Shifu gets word of this, so Po and the Furious Five travel to Shen's city to depose him. So of course there's plenty of comedy, plenty of awesome battles, and personal drama for Po. And of course, he ultimately masters inner peace. And there's a surprise twist at the end, which presumably sets up the third movie....
Oh, and the DVD came with a bonus DVD that had various features, the main one being a new animated short, Secrets of the Masters.