Revisiting KFP2 on Blu-ray

With this week’s release of Kung Fu Panda 2 on Blu-ray/DVD (DreamWorks/Paramount), featuring stunning picture and sound and plenty of great bonus features (“Animation Inspiration” and “Animator’s Corner”), it’s time to revisit the work on display for Oscar consideration.  As director Jennifer Yuh Nelson has revealed in my interview, this cried out for a sequel that is more epic and intimate than the original.

“It’s more epic, it’s more emotional, and, graphically, it goes beyond the original in so many ways,” asserts Rodolphe Guenoden, supervising animator and fight choreographer. “And the original had a pedigree that was not such an easy task.”

For the sequel, the dramatic stakes are also raised with Po discovering his origin and how it relates to the conflict with Lord Shen (Gary Oldman).

“It was great seeing her be a part of the entire animation process because before she was part of the upstream departments with storyboards and visual development,” Guenoden adds. “But to actually have that collaboration in animation was [valuable]. She never lost track of the story she wanted to tell.”

This character arc is clearly evident in the fight sequences, according to Guenoden. “The scale and tone of the fights are different,” he says. “For the first battle sequence when we see Po in action, we wanted him to perform in the same way as his dream in the original movie. So it had to be slightly fantasized, and then each one after that had to reflect the story point that Jen wanted to emphasize.

Guenoden also enjoyed finding a different way for the Lord Shen to fight, and was assisted by new R&D for feathers from the technical department. “I took a lot of inspiration from rhythmic gymnastics as well as traditional assault forms,” he explains. “I wanted him to be very graceful, and I wanted him to be original and super flexible and unpredictable. I looked at a lot of videos of girls jumping around and doing incredible flips.”

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Blu-ray, Clips, Home Entertainment, Music, Oscar, Tech, Trailers, VFX

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