In 2008, Kung Fu Panda became a monstrous critical and commercial success for DreamWorks. Not only was it the studio's largest opening for a non-sequel film, it also went on to become the highest-grossing animated film of the year.
Kung Fu Panda 2 was basically inevitable and in a few short months, fans will be able to catch up with the Furious Five on their latest adventure.
The original Kung Fu Panda remains one of my favorite DreamWorks animated films and I'm pretty impressed with the way the sequel is shaping up so far. Hearing that Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) worked on the script essentially guaranteed that I'd have to check this out and I was also impressed to learn that Kung Fu Panda 2 is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
In addition to serving as a story artist on the first Kung Fu Panda, Nelson was a character designer on HBO's amazing Spawn animated series in the late '90s and also directed several episodes. Add in producer Melissa Cobb's assertions that Kung Fu Panda 2 will find Po confronting "tough, emotional issues" and it sounds like this sequel could boast a great deal of thematic depth - in addition to all the one-liners, of course.
We've received a brief look at the film thanks its teaser trailer and Super Bowl spot, but now DreamWorks has finally unveiled the full-length trailer for Kung Fu Panda 2. Although there isn't a whole lot of that much-promised pathos on display, the new trailer makes it clear that this story unfolds on a much larger canvas than its predecessor.
In case you missed it, here's the official synopsis for Kung Fu Panda 2:
In KUNG FU PANDA 2, Po is now living his dream as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five. But Po's new life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. He must look to his past and uncover the secrets of his mysterious origins; only then will Po be able to unlock the strength he needs to succeed.
And here's the new full-length trailer:
I can already tell that some of those sequences are going to look glorious in 3D. From what we know of the film so far, it seems like they've really raised the stakes for the main characters - and if the substance matches the spectacle, there's a good chance Kung Fu Panda 2 will be just as good (and maybe even better) than the original.
The film features the voice talents of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Gary Oldman, Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Victor Garber.
You can also view the trailer in HD over at Apple.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is in theaters May 26, 2011.