KUNG FU PANDA 2 3D ** 1/2
The first fifteen minutes of Kung Fu Panda 2 3D include a disarmingly delightful title sequence, some excellent villainous voice work from Gary Oldman, and an unbelievably exciting fight scene that sets your expectations high for the film to come. The final twenty-five minutes feature an absolutely gorgeous – and surprisingly moving – memory sequence involving Po the Panda (Jack Black) finally allowing the memories of how he became an orphan become clear in his head while utilizing a complex Tai Chi move involving a single drop of water, followed by another extraordinary battle sequence, this time taking place on the Yangtze River at night, fires everywhere blazing red reflections on an ancient Chinese City. In between are forty minutes of boring filler.
It seems to me that feature-length animated films all suffer from being too long and padding out their mid-sections. I would prefer, say, a 40-minute Panda released with a forty minute Megamind from the same studio (in this case, Dreamworks); they could even give us a ten minute intermission and make double at the candy bar.
With the exception of the sequences mentioned above, there’s nothing here for adults. I say take two kids, and leave them together while you go for a beer in the middle forty minutes; come back refreshed for the end, suitably psyched to see Gary Oldman get his in a highly satisfying way.