Kung Fu Panda 2 Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English Audio Description, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Filmmakers Audio Description
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: A (B? C?)
- Rating: PG
- Run Time: 90 Mins
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + Digital Copy)
- Studio: DreamWorks Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: December 13, 2011
- List Price: $49.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
A surprisingly enjoyable sequel to DreamWorks’ lovable story about the unlikely martial arts hero Po (Jack Black) the hapless, continuously hungry panda adopted by a goose, Kung Fu Panda 2 brings back all the original voice cast from the first film for an all new heartfelt adventure. This time out Po and his friends in the Furious Five, Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross) and Mantis (Seth Rogen) must help save Kung Fu and the whole of China from an old enemy who has now returned. The malevolent peacock Shen (Gary Oldman) is back seeking revenge and he has a new weapon using gunpowder that can give him control over the nation. He also holds the secret to Po’s past and where he came from, it is a journey that leads Po down the path to finding out about his real parents, which he must do to attain inner peace.
It’s a wonderful film with a delicate balance of action, family-friendly humor, and heartfelt drama. The animation is excellent, continuing the blend of CGI and hand-drawn techniques that began n the first film while the all-star voice cast that also includes James Hong (Mr. ping), Dennis Haysbert (Master Ox), Michelle Yeoh (Soothsayer), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu), and Jean-Claude Van Damme (Master Croc) is pitch perfect.
As to be expected from a high budget, fully-digital CGI production such as this one, Kung Fu Panda 2 arrives on Blu-ray in an immaculate AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement that shows all the detail of the animation from the individual hairs on Po and Tigress to all the intricate facets of Gongman City. Color looks beautiful contrast is strong and shadow detail is perfect as well.
Panda 2 is given an equally stellar Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio mix that engulfs the listeners in a complete and dynamic soundfield. The back channels are used effectively, but sparingly, with some discrete sound effects during some of the moe active scenes and also help anchor the atmospherics. High frequencies are airy and natural while low frequencies are nicely extended without being overbearingly boomy.
There’s a lot here to get into, including a great animated short, the first episode of Nickelodeon’s new Kung Fu Panda series, and a few Blu-ray exclusive features.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters (1.78:1; 1080p/24; Dolby TrueHD 7.1) – New animated short featuring the characters of Kung Fu Panda in an original adventure, in which Po and his Furious Five companions uncover the legend of the Kung Fu masters. It combines CGI and hand-drawn animation, much like the feature film.
- Blu-ray Exclusives:
- Animation Inspiration (1.78:1;1080p/24) – Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson briefly talks about the film crew’s travels across China for inspiration in the introduction to this interactive feature that allows users to select the various locations featured in the film and discover more information on them and their real-life inspiration.
- The Animators’ Corner – This in-movie, picture-in-picture feature, features commentary with the animators and director, storyboard sketches and behind-the-scenes footage.
- Trivia Track – This in-movie pop-up trivia track offers interesting tidbits on the film’s production, historical facts about China, and info on the actors and their performances.
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (1.78:1; 1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1; 00:23:50) – Debut episode of the new Nickelodeon series.
- Kickin’ it with the Cast (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:42) – A behind the scenes look at the cast with brief interview segments.
- Deleted Scenes:
- Fight Club – Bartender Scene (test)
- Po Chasing the Crow (test)
- Po in Gogmen City (test)
- Panda Stories (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:07:44) – A look at the real-life struggle of pandas in the wild and captivity as the filmmakers study actual pandas as research for Kung Fu Panda.
- Kung Fu Shuffle
- Nǐ Hǎo – Learn how to speak and read Chinese with these interactive flash cards.
- World of DreamWorks Animation
- Filmmakers’ Commentary by director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, producer Melissa Cobb, production designer Raymond Zibach, supervising animator, Kug Fu choreographer and story artist Rodolphe Guenoden.
- Digital Copy
The Definitive Word
Kung Fu Panda 2 on Blu-ray offers this wonderful film in a delightful, feature-rich package that is a perfect bit of home theatre entertainment.
Additional Screen Captures