As a sequel to one of the best-loved Disney animations of recent years, this film had a lot to live up to, and boy did it ever! A fast plot, great action sequences and a cute and cuddly protagonist, ensured there’s something for everyone in this fantastic kung fu animation.
The film explores the sensitive subject of adoption and delves into the past of the main character, Po, played by Jack Black. This potentially tricky theme is handled in a very playful yet moving way, and is made even more relevant by the fact that Angelina Jolie, serial adopter and earth mother, is a member of the cast.
Speaking of the cast, you will have to wait a long time to see such an eclectic mix of actors and actresses in one film. To name a few ingredients in this stir fry of acting talent, we see Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen, (and even more remarkably, the latter goes an entire film without a bong passing his lips).
Despite being set in the remotest part of ancient China, in true Hollywood fashion, the bad guy is voiced by an Englishman, and a spiffing good job he does too! Gary Oldman is evil peacock overlord Shen, a beautiful yet deadly villain and aptly animalistic representation of all that is evil. For if Mean Girls taught us anything, it is that beauty = pure evil.
The animation is stunning, with goosebump-inducing action sequences and possibly the cutest cartoon baby panda ever! Blended into the narrative are anime-style comic strips that give the audience all the relevant information but also imparts a really authentic Chinese aesthetic.
This film, though ultimately a barrel of fun, is in places not only touching, but is also an positive picture of adoption and parent-child relationships. You will find it hard not to shed a few tears, and that goes for the boys too, but you’ll be laughing even more.
Brilliantly entertaining, magical, full throttle pand‘a’monium!