Tag: Angelina Jolie

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Maleficent stormed onto the scene many years ago, one of the first of the Disney live action titles, outside of that bad Alice one.And it was pretty forgettable. A weak plot, a lot of time of just watching a kid grow up, and then some terrible CGI fight battles.

But hey, the whole reason for doing it is to say that someone with the name of Maleficent,meaning to cause harm supernaturally, isn’t actually bad. Oh okay. And sure, they made her seem misunderstood, and basically a revenge film about a rape, metaphors aside.

So why is this sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, doubling down on the badness? But she isn’t bad. Just bad looking. Now she is also the mistress of evil? I uhh, don’t know why they want to do this?

I’ll go ahead and say this early enough, that they don’t have a good plot reason for this title.

Ah, green fire magic. Magic-y. Evil. 

Alright, so Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) was a sort of hero, killing a king who was a liar and a bad person, and I guess everyone agreed? She magically got her wings back and restored some sort of order, and went back to her magical forest to chill with magic forest people.

But apparently in like, a year or two, the story changes so much that she is a bad guy again. Cool.

Well, Aurora (Elle Fanning) wants to get married finally though, to Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson), who was definitely recast between movies. So they get their parents together, Aurora finding Maleficent, and Philip getting King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Neither set of parents like this at all, especially not Ingrith, who sets about immediately being a bitch. This leads to a curse being cast on a King, Maleficent noping the hell out of there, and then a war against the fey, again.

But hey, this time there are going to be lots of people like Maleficent this time, so you know, bigger stakes, and lots of CGI warring.

Also starring Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, and Imelda Staunton.

The king has huge look of regret about this whole thing.

Without a doubt, this is a two hour movie that feels like four hours. On the first day of the year, ready to watch a bunch of films, I was completely warn out after this one, my 2nd film of the day, because of how much this movie dragged.

This felt like more of the same, with worse reasoning for existing. This time, the big CGI fest battle happened for a bigger chunk of the movie, if we start it with the very obvious double cross that started against the magical creatures.

This film tries to do more world building this time, but it is building a world, answering questions none of us had. Maleficent is stronger and better than others because. Just because.

Pfeiffer’s character is completely stupid in this film. An antagonist without a good reason. And honestly, Pfeiffer does nothing to really elevate the role at all, she is here for a paycheck.

Maleficent 2 is a movie with more CGI that is exhausting in his excess without being worth looking at. It has acting from all fronts that is forgettable. It tells a story that is very, very similar to the first one, but with “bigger scales” that don’t really matter either. It is a waste of what felt like four hours of my life.

0 out of 4.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Animated films can take a long time to make. It takes years to get all of the CGI right, and pretty. It does not take a lot of time to record dialogue, or figure out the plot (Unless you are The Good Dinosaur). But all the technical work making sure every frame is wonderful and all the characters are as you had hoped. Years and hundreds of people at work.

Technically it only takes years if you care about the final product. That is why we had Planes and Planes: Fire & Rescue less than a year apart. The animators didn’t care.

There was a five year gap between Kung Fu Panda 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3. And you know that is not because the voice actors were too busy for lines. Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2011 was the prettiest film of all the CGI movies. Prettier than Rango and Puss In Boots. If they wanted to not just recipricate the second movie but surpass it, you can bet your ass it would take them years of work.

I am rambling. All I am trying to say is I expect this film to shit rainbows and make my eyes bleed in wonder. A sweet villain would also be delightful.

Creepy and promising! Me likey.

As we know from the end of 2, there is a secret panda village somewhere and Po (Jack Black) doesn’t know about it. He won’t care about it until a mysterious panda, Li (Bryan Cranston) shows up to the valley. He is looking for his lost son. Could it be?! Yes, yes it could be.

Great news! Now Po can show his dad all the cool dragon warrior stuff, and make his Foster Dad, Mr. Ping (James Hong) feel incredibly sad and jealous. Also Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) plans on retiring so he can focus on himself and find his Chi to do even better Kung Fu, leaving Po in charge of training the five (Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Jackie Chan). But he can’t teach.

Even worse? Well, Kai (J.K. Simmons) has escaped from the Spirit Realm! Who? He used to be a friend of Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) 500 years ago, even saved his life! But he got jealous of Oogway when he was taught to harness Chi from the mystical Panda village and wanted the power for his own, so he had to be put down in a jealous fury. Well, he eventually figured out how to steal Chi in the spirit realm, defeating all former masters and now he is back to the real world to defeat any and all would be challengers.

Jeez. Now Po has to learn Chi to defeat Kai. But it took Oogway 30 years! And Shifu can’t! Time for Po to go to his homeland. To determine how he can be the most Panda he can be, to learn what he has been missing all his life. To really become the Dragon Warrior.

Also featuring Kate Hudson as a ribbon dancing Panda.

And of course this rhino panda bird metal hybrid warrior! Don’t forget about him!

This part of the review is actually really hard to write. How many times can I say how beautiful this movie is? I don’t want to look in a thesaurus but I believe everything I say about the CGI and art style will just sound repetitive. Gorgeous, detailed, beautiful, wonderful and wunderbar, eye orgasmic. The best part that this Kung Fu movie is animated is they can show amazing fight scenes and nothing gets lost to blur or shaky camera. We can see every punch and kick. Every fantastic movement. And it is awe inspiring. Just like the previous films, the entire thing isn’t just CGI, they have other art styles to show within back stories which give it more traditional feels.

Fuck its so pretty.

Okay. Sorry. I will stop.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is sadly not perfect. A lot of the early film is wasted. Part of the charm of sequels for action films like this is that we don’t have to waste our time with origin stories. But this film has us sit through Po being bad at teaching, then he is has to do the long Panda training. The Panda training in particular, discovering his family and friends, just takes so much time and makes me lose interest in Po. The twists that show up during the village are also quite obvious, so we don’t even get the benefit of a nice shock.

The villain is awesome, although we don’t get to see enough of him doing bad things. The spirit realm was awesome and allowed the film to add more magical components to the franchise. Making “Chi” the big new thing feels a bit strange. I think KFP2 added that he needed Inner Peace and the Chi concept just feels like the same thing again. I don’t want each film to be Po learning something bigger to defeat a new threat. That isn’t original. Although I don’t know if there will be any more films after this one, given the ending.

Oh well. Pretty franchise. Pretty good. Not perfect.

3 out of 4.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Hyping up these things is getting hard. But mostly because the next few are pretty meh, until I hit 1500.

What? Yes, what I am saying is welcome to my 1300th review, bitches. Time for a Milestone Review.

I think I have the next few figured out too. I am continuing with my theme of mid-2000s movies that I heard were terrible, never saw before, and want to give them a chance.

I remember seeing trailers for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Even my 10-12 year ago self thought the film looked too CGI and weird. But now it is a decade later. Maybe it was one of those films ahead of its time, like Speed Racer?

Or, maybe it is just terribad and perfect for the mid 2000’s.

One man’s CGI fest explosion is another mans CGI fest explosion.

Alternative history. And not just a history where I watched this movie 11 years ago. I’m talkin’ 1930’s. I don’t know the exact differences, but technology is a lot better in this timeline. We got Zeppelins. We got scientists. We got shenanigans.

Specifically, some famous scientists are disappearing and and no one knows why. Also not a lot of people care. So there is that. Some dude disappears at the start of the film even!

It’s amazing they could land (perch? float next to?) so well in that weather (snow storm? smog gas? volcano explosion?).

Wait, one person might care! Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is playing another character with the initials PP. She is a journalist and she just so happens to be looking into the missing scientists! Crazy! She is the one who cares.

She gets a secret message to meet up for information on who the next scientist to go missing will be. After heading out, she is surprised to find Dr. Walter Jennings (Trevor Baxter)! Some Dr. Totenkopf is getting all of the scientists, and Walter thinks he is next because he is the last of the group who worked on a secret project. SUDDENLY! GIANT ROBOTS ATTACK THE CITY.

Marching two by two, just like Moses said they would.

The robots seem to be indestructible. I don’t think they are technically attacking, they are more just walking the streets and looking like an army. The police collectively shrug and realize they can’t win, so they call on “Sky Captain,” a dude who owns his own private air force in New York called the Flying Legion. The Sky Captain is just Joe Sullivan (Jude Law). He is able to take out one of the robots using a bomb and making it fall down. I guess that is good enough for them.

The rest of the robots GTFO of town, back to outer space or who knows what. Joe saves Polly and takes the broken robot back to his base. Turns out Joe and Polly have a past together. They used to date, but Joe blames Polly for interfering too much and almost getting him killed. But she has information, so she can tag a long for now.

The Flying Legion head of science expert (Giovanni Ribisi) starts looking into the robot, while Joe and Polly go to investigate Dr. Jennings again!

If you came here for this like everyone else, then I have some disappointing news.

So, Jennings is almost dead. Damn. Too late. But before he croaks, he gives Polly two vials. Very secret these vials. They are apparently what Dr. Totenkopf is after. Joe don’t know ’bout the vials either, how sneaky. So that sucks, scientist is dead. Oh well, YOLO, back to the base, they find out science guy has found out secret information!

Oh no, the base is also now under attack, but by drone robots! But that means the scientist might not be able to tell us the news he found out! Yep, he gets taken during the defense. Oh noes!

Turns out he found out the origin of the robot control signal, so they know where to go to stop them. And it is on Earth! And hey, before he was taken he left them a map. Pretty sweet. So they head down to Tibet and the Himalayas!

What a relaxing plane ride!

Over in the mountains, Joe meets up with his old friend Kaji (Omid Djalili) and they all laugh and have good times. They get double crossed by some peeps, and almost blow up! Next thing they know, they are in Shangri-La. The evil doctor used monks to mine uranium. K. But the doctor is in another castle, so they have to go find him again.

And nowwwwwwww we finally get to meet Commander Franky Cook (Angelina Jolie), who commands her own Royal Navy flying force thing. They help Joe find the secret island of Dr. Totenkopf. Using submarine boats, they break in and find it inhabited with weird dinosaur like creatures. Shit, they also find robots hoarding animals into capsules. Two by two, a whole lot of different species.

Oh shit, they are going to Noah the Earth!

Did you guys notice me say Moses earlier?

Looks like the evil Dr. wants to reset the world. He is loading all the animals into a rocket. The rocket will blast off, blow up a lot of the world, then eventually return and repopulate. The World Of Tomorrow. In case you are wondering about the vials, as you should be, they actually contain the “perfect human” DNA. A new Adam and Eve.

So does that mean the doctor wants to kill himself? Not at all. He died twenty years ago. OHHHH SNAP.

That’s right. But the robots he made have been continuing with the plan, doing shenanigans, killing people, and all that jazz. Fucking robots.

Look at them. Always fucking shit up.

Needless to say, our heroes get stuck on the rocket going up into outer space. Full of animals, angry robots, and dead scientists. Oh no!

So Joe figures, hey, he is a captain of the SKIES. He should save everyone and blow up the rocket alone on the ship. Well, Polly doesn’t listen. Again. They free all the animals and also fuck up the ship. Thankfully, there is just one escape pod left.

And do they reach it? Do they?

Not if Zordon’s son has anything to say about it.

Mannnnnn. I can’t believe this movie got so many great reviews.

SCatWoT was one of the first movies ever to use CGI like this. To give us an old timey, futuristic, retro feel. Everything was intentionally done with a specific style in mind. And that style could have not felt more boring to me.

Fuck. This movie dragged on. First of all, it was only rated PG. So the action was only PG levels of exciting. This probably a false complaint.

The real issue is they were going for this super old feel. Maybe specifically a 60s/70s sci-fi b-movie feel. But it was incredibly dull the entire time. I just wanted it to end. Paltrow was down right terrible in this movie. I don’t know if it was her or the director, but there was close to zero emotion the entire film.

Angelina Jolie is obviously barely in this movie, despite most of the advertisements featuring her and her eye patch. I really assumed she was the sky captain.

BUT IT WAS JUST SO SLOW. Which obviously is my main complaint. The entire movie just felt brown and grey, very unexciting colors. I was hoping with that much CGI it would be a bit flashier and exciting, especially on Blu-Ray. But no. Slow. Dreadfully boring. And fuck, this is one of the worst movies I have had to review for a milestone review.

Which is the issue here. I found it hard to be funny, because I had to type out the whole plot outline, and found it a struggle just to remember what in the fuck happened.

I dunno if anyone ever watched this movie. But re-watch it. If you liked it, let me know why. If you still like it and can ignore nostalgia, I just. Just help me out here.

0 out of 4.


Ah, another re-imagining. I think the last one recently was Jack the Giant Slayer, but I probably forgot a few other ones recently. This time, Maleficent, we are tackling the Sleeping Beauty tale. Instead of just telling the story a different way, we are getting it from Maleficent’s point of view.

So, at this point, the movie could go two directions. They could show us that Maleficent was really a good/misunderstood character (which is hard, being one of the more evil Disney villains ever), like what Wicked did, or they could give us a movie about a bad ass mother, who don’t take no crap off of nobody.

Do we get the awesome force of evil doing awesome things? Hell no, this is a Disney related property. You are getting a PG movie, Maleficent won’t be evil, tables will be turned. I mean. Wicked did it. Of course it is going the Wicked route.

But now there are some changes.

This film begins when Maleficent is but a young girl. She is also a fairy. Some dumb war between the fairy kingdom and human kingdom going down. She meets a human boy, finds him sweet, they frolic, he leaves to do human things and they grow old apart.

Now, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is an adult fairy, protector of the forest because she is better than the other fairies. The human kingdom is at war now with the magic land. Maleficent pisses some people off. Long story short, a metaphor that strongly resembles rape occurs, and her long lost child hood friend, is now the new King Stefan (Sharlto Copley).

So that curse thing happens, basically just like in Sleeping Beauty. But now, instead of Maleficent searching for Aurora (Elle Fanning) for sixteen years, she finds her like right away and becomes her silent guardian, protecting her from harm. Why? Not really sure.

Then a whole bunch of events happen, nothing at all like the events in Sleeping Beauty, and everyone lives happily ever after.

We have the three fairies again, but they have different names now, for some reason. They are now Thistletwit (Juno Temple), Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), and Flittle (Lesley Manville). We also have Sam Riley as the raven boy thing and Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip.

Green Flames
Oooh, there is the Maleficent we know. Even if it is for just a short while.

Here is one difference between Wicked and Maleficent. Wicked, more or less, took the aspects of the original story, kept them all basically the same, and added in a lot of new material and made it great. Maleficent had one aspect of the original story the same (the baby girl scene), then changed everything else about Sleeping Beauty and called it a day.

If it was a “misunderstood villain” story and they actually did it in the context of the original story? Great. If they decide that she is misunderstood because someone told the story wrong? Boring and pathetic almost.

“But movie reviewer! You don’t take the source into context!” Well, that is true. Unless they bring the source material into context for me. Thankfully this movie includes in the actual film one of my least favorite things of the last few years, telling me the story I heard was wrong and this is the real way. Or that I don’t know the truth. It is one of the worst things to hear, and it just keeps happening.

Maleficent had some cool special effects. Her awesome magic powers were vague with what she could actually do. Sometimes really awesome creation magic and spells? Cool! Destruction? Yeah! But that was like, only once, all used for the trailer. Her magic became something that could do basically anything for her, unless it would have made the plot lame. The movie isn’t really dark like the trailer suggests. The middle chunk of the movie is just Maleficent standing around, peering behind bushes while the theater sleeps.

There is a lot wrong with this film, in my eyes. They took a beloved villain and made her a metaphorical rape victim. They made her really powerful, with out displaying any of this power. They made her wear a catwoman like jump suit at one point.

I think that last line really makes my points clear.

1 out of 4.


Can’t say I knew much about Changeling, heck I didn’t even really hear about it, despite award nominations, and being another Clint Eastwood directed movie.

Heck, even the cover is pretty vague.

But someone is probably going to jail for it.

Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) is a single mom and a working mom. It is the late 1920s and she basically runs an operator center. Heck, might even has a promotion to Beverly Hills coming soon.

But one day, after work, going to pick up her kid and she cant find him. He is missing. He has wandered off or someone has taken him. Uber freak out, but gotta wait 24 hours first, then file the police report. Either way, super upset.

Well the good news is months later, her kid is reportedly found. Even Captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan) of the police force is on deck for the reunion. The LAPD hasn’t had many successes over the years. And when the kid arrives, it is totally not her son. They say that in the few months of grief he has changed, but that is TOTALLY him and take him home, it will sink in.

Nope. Nope nope nope. So not him. He is shorter! Son says he is definitely the son though. They even sent a specialist to “examine him thoroughly”, and or just confirm the police findings. But she says nope, she wants it to be known it is not her son so they can actually continue to look for her damn son!

So with the help of a local reverend (John Malkovich) trying to show how corrupt the LAPD is, and testimonies from the teachers, and dentist (different mouth structure shit), she goes to the press to get her story out with proof that the LAPD refuses to accept that the son is not her own.

Or she is crazy. Which is what the LAPD is willing to believe, throwing her in the Asylum. Huh. Well maybe she is.

And maybe the Canadian child who was apprehended from Gordon Northcott’s (Jason Butler Harner) farm by Detective Lester Ybarra (Michael Kelly) has some secrets he needs to get off his chest.

No I will not make another call me maybe reference here….
Even though they just found him, and she might be crazy, but Mr. Cop Man, that ain’t her baby.

Boo, why did Jeffrey Donovan have to be such a bad guy? I like Burn Notice, damn it.

Angelina Jolie knocked her role out of the park. I was attempting to multi task a bit during this movie, packing up some stuff, but I can tell you very little packing ended up getting done. I was wondering where the story would go, and afraid of most of the outcomes. This is based off of real events in the end of the 1920s, so the LAPD really has always been a piece of shit police organization. Shows about corrupt cops, they actually are probably accurate. Damn.

I can’t tell if I like it more because its a good movie, or because Angelina Jolie has now done multiple movies where I have thought she has been excellent in. Hmm. Hopefully this isn’t a shocked rating. But hey, this movie has it all, corrupt cops, women’s rights, and murderers. Very exciting.

3 out of 4.


Wanted is by far one of the movies I have dreaded most to watch. I also have read the book and have no way of doing this in a biased way. Yes, I generally review things and ignore the book. But usually if they have the same name they at least have the same plot. This is not really true with Wanted the movie, way way different than the graphic novel.

fox and wanter
After all, neither character looks anything like their comic version.

This movie is about a group of assassins. The comic is about super heroes and super villains. The main character is more or less the same. Some loser working in a corporation. Clearly a tool. This Wesley (James McAvoy) has a gift though. Genetically he can shoot good with a gun (what?). Again this is not really a superpower, because this is supposed to be considered normal. It is rare, just possible in the world. In the graphic novel of course it is easy to accept, because lots of people have powers.

Eventually he finds out about this gun thing, and got it from his dad, an assassin who is dead. Fox (Angelina Jolie, who is definitely not black), brings him to the organization to meet Sloan (Morgan Freeman, who is) and begins training to join the “family business”. The Fraternity which…kills people based on The Loom Of Fate. Which has a secret code which they use to find names of people to kill. Yeah. Not really well explained.

Some missions happen, he gets to go after the guy who killed his dad, other betrayal, lots of dying, long rage shots and curving bullets. Yeahh. Then some breaking of the 4th wall.

Pew pew pew
Pew pew pew.

Seriously though. This plot has nothing to do with the actual graphic novel and is actually way weirder. Who the hell would say “Lets have a Loom that tells people who to kill! Yess!” What? In the graphic novel, it is a world where the superheroes actually lost and no one believes in super powered people anymore (just tell the stories in comics. Hah). But they have this big organization. Tells of a war between all the different chapters, and search for his father.

This one of course has him go and take down the organization that trained him in a highly predictable pathline. No super powers! No other evil groups. Just…a Loom of fucking fate.

I really can’t get over the loom. I never saw that coming, just knew the one difference between the movie and graphic novel. The acting is dumb, special effects driven movie, and stupid stupid plot.

1 out of 4.

The Tourist

The Tourist is the last of the “movies I have been avoiding unreasonably” mini theme that I just came up with. Gotta love an unplanned movie shortage!

I mean, what kind of outfit is that for boating?

Angelina Jolie is some sort of spy or agent or something. You aren’t sure. It is pretty vague beginning. Maybe she is a bad guy? But she is getting on a train, and people seem interested in what she is doing.

Typical plot line won’t do. Apparently she used to be all criminally with a lover, who owes over 700 million in back taxes. But he doesn’t want to be found, so he spends 20 million on super awesome plastic surgery. Shh. The government knows this too, so they assume Angelina Jolie will lead them to him. She is told to go on the train and find a person of “similar statue, height” and make the coppers think that that is him, so that she can meet up with him later.

So who does she pick? Johnny Depp, a math teacher on vacation (a tourist!) in Italy. He of course thinks everything is awesome. Hot woman who wants to eat with him, and lets him stay in her wtf-mazing hotel? Hot stuff. Until he wakes up the next day with 2 foreign people trying to bust in his door, and get him, because that guy also pissed off foreigners.

Turns out Jolie is also working for the man, to help bring her lover in, for her own safety.

But who is this mysterious man actually? Will Depp get something popped in his ass because of it? Is Paul Bettany really fine being in a movie where he mostly is in a “control room”?

Maybe the power of math can fix everything!

So, a weird thing happened halfway through the movie to me. I realized that I didn’t hate it yet. I also didn’t like it yet. It felt way super neutral the whole way through. I never really felt shocked by the shocking moments, but I also wasn’t mad by the disappointing shocks. I might have never felt more “2 out of 4” for a movie than this one. Seriously.

I can’t even tell if I am recommending it or not.

Watch maybe?

2 out of 4.


As you all know, I really did not like Colombiana. It had almost every bad movie cliche in it, and it did it just to sell more tickets, and help dumben America. Or something. But when I was told that Salt is like the opposite of Colombiana, I was very skeptical. After all, it is Angelina Jolie, and she was Tomb Raider! She has always been an “action star” but I never really understood why. Especially since most of the roles she had played were based off her looks, not acting or fighting or shooting ability.

So someone who made a career of doing things I hated about movies, did the exact opposite in a movie? Yeah. I guess so.

Two Tomb Raiders
Two Tomb Raiders for Two Movies.

Salt really is a film about trust and betrayal. That an hilarious misunderstandings, without the hilarity. Evelyn Salt is working for the US Government. A CIA spy or whatever.

Some Russian dude comes out of no where though. And wants to be taken in and tell his tale. So Salt interrogates him with Chiwetel Ejiofor, and he lets them know that Russia has spies in the US government that want to kill the President of the US and the President of Russia, to make a war. So who does he name? Salt of course! Salt freaks out, and from the wording of the Russian dude, also thinks her husband is at risk. All she wants to do is make sure he is okay, but the CIA said “nuh uh” to that. Can’t let her go now! Well she gets out anyways. Despite Liev Schreiber‘s best attempt to keep her contained.

So the movie is about Salt trying to find her husband, and figure out why that guy would say that? Is she actually born a russian spy and meant to kill the president? Is it some programming thing in her brain that will just go off, like Relax in Zoolander? Or is she being set up by Russia in order for another spy to carry out that mission? WHAT? TELL ME?

Oh damn it. You have to watch to find out. What is interesting in the movie is that they use the confusion well as a plot device. The viewer is never really sure who is the bad guy, just like Angelina Jolie isn’t sure either. Not until the climax is everything cleared out, you know, like a classic spy movie. Similarly, the shooting/escaping/fighting is really well done.

Salt is also not invincible. She gets knocked down, bleeds, gets hurt, but gets back up. None of this “oh I am so much better than all of you, let me kick yo ass!” stuff. Also! Angelina Jolie doesn’t do anything sexy in this movie. Zero. It relies entirely on plot twists and action to carry the movie, and some acting. No “lets get more guys to watch this” filler shit. Bonus points Jolie.

Pictured: Zero sex appeal.

I applaud this movie for focusing on an interesting movie first, and kind of realistic (still far from realistic, but realistic-er), and not resorting to all the cheap ploys to try and make more money. You should check it out too.

3 out of 4.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Dreamworks is known as the CGI-animation company that is not Pixar. More or less, everything Pixar does is instantly praised, while everything Dreamworks does is hated on. Sure, Pixar has more good movies, but damn it, Dreamworks has some good ones too.

Like the first
Shrek. And Kung Fu Panda. The first one got about fifty sequels, the latter so far only has Kung Fu Panda 2. And it is more epic than the first.

But Kung Fu Panda also lead to the worst rip off in recent years.

The plot of the movie is similar to the first. Someone is kicking a lot of ass and is evil, and needs to be stopped. This time, instead of training montages and noodle shops, Po (Jack Black) starts out as a kick ass warrior. The dragon warrior! Which we all know he became later in the first film. Now we get to ignore all of that, and go straight into lots of fight scenes.

One of the central plots is that Po realizes the goose is not his real dad! Shocking, I know.His parents were killed as a boy and he was orphaned. Killed by who? A peacock. Or at least an evil peacock (Gary Oldman). While they originally thought his threat was dealt with, he has been hiding away, building an army of wolves and gorillas, and making a weapon that renders kung fu and other fighting types useless. (Its based on fireworks, aka pretty).

Speaking of pretty, the CGI in this movie is fantastic on Blu-Ray. Everything was wowable, and noticeably better than the effects in the first movie. In addition to the normal CGI, during flashbacks to Pos youth, they used a more traditional style of Asian cartoon work, and it was pretty damn nifty. I’d have liked it if the beginning had a story similar to the one Po made up in the first to open the film. Had some of the better lines.

The same gang from the first film is also back, Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan) and Tigress (Angelina Jolie). I still don’t like Tigress though.

The end of the movie also does what a lot of movies try to do and fail. Give us both a full story, and set up a possible sequel. I have reviewed numerous movies that have focused more on setting up a sequel than giving a satisfactory ending. But this one does a nice job and I want there to be a Kung Fu Panda 3.

Panda 2
Oh don’t look so shocked Po. I will let you wait at least three years first.

Overall? The fight scenes are pretty great and creative. I am sure Chan had a lot of influence on how they were developed, since he has a knack for that sort of thing. They were also comedic enough to laugh without taking away the seriousness of the fights/plot. Everything was weaved together well, plot, action, backstory, effects. Just the “inner peace” plotline seemed forced. Or Po is just that awesome. Not sure.

3 out of 4.