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    May 30, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: KUNG FU PANDA: THE KABOOM OF DOOM

    KUNG FU PANDA: THE KABOOM OF DOOM (U)

    Genre: Action/Adventure/Animation
    Release Date: 26 May 2011
    Running Time: 90 minutes
    Distributor: DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures (United International Pictures)
    Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
    Screenplay: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
    Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Michelle Yeoh, Danny McBride

    Plot: "Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom Of Doom" is an upcoming animated film adventure and the sequel to "Kung Fu Panda". Set to be in 3-D, the movie is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson with actor Jack Black reprising his role as Po, the Giant Panda. The plot will involve a new villain with a weapon so powerful it threatens the very existence of kung fu. It is then up to Po, Master Shifu, and the Furious Five to defend it, whilst along the way, Po is forced to confront his past.

    Review: So the Furious Five has return; but not to be confused with the guys and girls from Fast and Furious. Instead of providing plenty of testosterone punches as we have gone through since the early of this month, it is probably that time of the year when we settle down for a calmer but enjoyable adventure. Yes, this is the one. The second chapter for the kung fu animation returns with more awesomeness and kabooms as it seems with a little bit more of justice for hunger. They are back to save the world of kung fu, China and even the world from more catastrophic disaster that fireworks may caused. I have to admit that this is the best DreamWorks Animation production I have seen since last year's sleeper hit "How To Train Your Dragon".


    The movie opens with a prologue that portrays the peaceful city of Gongmen under the rule of the peacock clan. For years, the peacock clan has brought happiness and peace to the citizens of Gongmen by harnessing the power and magic from fireworks. However, their heir, Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) decided to use the firework as part of dark magic and a weapon that will be used to take control of China. When Shen learned from the court's goat soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) that "a warrior of black and white" would one day defeat him, he assumed she was referring to the giant pandas. To avert such prophecy from becoming true, he had all the pandas to be exterminated. Shen's parents were horrified at his action and decided to banish Shen, only to vow for a vengeful return.

    Meanwhile, Po (Jack Black) is living his dream as the Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters the Furious Five, but Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) tells him he has yet to achieve inner peace. One day during a standoff against the wolves who have been stealing refined metal for Lord Shen to use for his newly developed cannon, Po is distracted by a symbol on the head wolf's (Danny McBride) armor, which causes Po to have a flashback of his mother and allows the wolves to escape. Po decides he must know his past. Words have that Master Thundering Rhino (Victor Garber), leader of the kung fu council protecting Gongmen City, has been killed by Lord Shen's new weapon, which threatens to destroy kung fu tradition. The Furious Five is once again sent to Gongmen to save the day!


    The plot may have been the weakest link here but it is still somehow enjoyable. The arc story seems to have been taken lazily to follow the mold of the original predecessor. It's the same kind of things you should have expected from the movie about warrior, where heroes combat baddies from destroying the world. Fortunately it is not a bad decision at all. We follow the Furious Five, not only that our warriors comprising of a giant panda, a tigress, a crane, a monkey and a snake setting out for adventure yet again to save the day, but also to self rediscover the lost soul and to achieve that inner peace. It is a somewhat wild, bold and hilarious adventure that sets our warriors in the most entertaining way possible. Indeed you will be served with enough workable humors, as well as some intensity of actions and emotional feels at time. Beware, this animation is rather entertaining and less annoying than any of your standard animation features.

    As for the mythology goes, this sequel brings one to reconnect to the past about the origin of Po, among other new themes and story in this sequel. Po's parenthood is been explained curiously, beautifully and emotionally. I have to say the part when Po discovered the truth about his younger days and how he weirdly connected to his "biological" father goose, Mr Ping (James Hong) is powerful, dark and emotionally; although not really a true tear-jacker like we have seen in "Toy Story 3", "Up" or "How To Train Your Dragon". After all, the movie is not powered by pure emotion, rather director Jennifer Yuh Nelson chose to balance all acts of craziness and awesomeness well. Not really much of a surprise since Guillermo del Toro (the executive producers) was suspected to might have lend some hand on the story development as well given the little dark nature in the movie.


    As much as I might have hate Jack Black when it comes to live-action comedy, he seems greatly casted for the role of Po, just like in the original. He is more realistic, less annoying and does his voice job beautifully. It is clear that the character Po has matured from the last time we have seen him and for that, Black invests personality into Po and for that it works. Gary Oldman's Shen appropriately demonstrated how robbing love can make one into the evil side, thus he is a foe that looks ruthless but at times indecisive when he comes to face the prophecy he inherited. Angelina Jolie's Tigress seems to have more involvement this time and only those who have not paying attention during the movie will not realizing how importance she will be in the third movie. Romantic involvement perhaps? We shall see then. Speaking of awesomeness, the special effects are the real deal in this movie, been way better than anything you have seen in an animation point of view. The spectacular cinematography is equally viewable in either 2D or 3D format. Kudos yet again to DreamWorks to produce another great 3D movie!

    THE RATING:
    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 4.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 14.4
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