Kung Fu Panda 2

Year: 2011
Studio: Paramount
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Writer: Jonathan Aibel/Glenn Berger
Cast: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, David Cross, James Hong, Michelle Yeoh, Danny McBride, Dennis Haysbert, Jean-Claude Van Damme

It's getting harder to talk about these movies every year because of the strict formula and rhythm they follow and the specific toolbox of elements they wield.

Panda Po (Black) is an entrenched member of the fabulous five (or whatever they're called), but a new threat looms in the shape of Shen (Oldman), an evil peacock lord banished from the kingdom years before who's returned to conquer all of China.

As Po and the rest of the animals march to stop him and his wolf army, there's a character arc of Po wanting to know where he came from after realising his loving restaurateur father (Hong) isn't his biological Dad. In one of the film's funniest moments, Po is expressing his surprise at what he's learned to Tigress (Jolie), who says dryly 'the goose?'

But the pacing of an action scene followed by a character scene is very family movie-friendly, there are plenty of laughs and thrills and it all fits the formula perfectly. If anything stands out, it's the backdrops that (ironically considering the stylised cartoon world they inhabit) look astonishingly real at times.

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