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Soundtrack review: Kung Fu Panda 2 (John Powell and Hans Zimmer – 2011)

Composer of the month Franchises Hans Zimmer John Powell month

Soundtrack review: Kung Fu Panda 2 (John Powell and Hans Zimmer – 2011)

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“Kung Fu Panda” is another successful animation franchise which benefits from John Powell’s craft. He has really found his calling with these scores and each new one is a reason to get excited. For “Kung Fu Panda” John Powell teams up with his mentor Hans Zimmer. This review of “Kung Fu Panda 2” is part of “John Powell month”.

Whenever Hans Zimmer is involved in a score with Asian influences, I am in. Each and every one of them has been a winner because he always chooses the perfect instrumentations for these types of scores. After an enjoyable start this score takes off with “Musicians village” and “Save kung fu”. “Gongmen jail” is a funky tune in the style of early martial arts film scores. It makes me think of “Enter the dragon”.

Contrary to a lot of animation scores “Kung Fu Panda 2” has a few very long cues: “Po and Shen / Face to face”, “Fireworks factory” and “Zen ball master” are worth 20 minutes. For me the shorter tracks work better on this score. They are more exciting and the longer ones tend to drag a little bit. I prefer the fiery of “More cannons!” to the uneven “Fireworks factory”.

The best thing about “Kung fu Panda 2” is the action tracks. Zimmer and Powell deliver the goods and the 7 minute long “Zen ball master” is the most entertaining theme of the score. It is the most epic cue of this score. It comes close to the end so the final impression is very good also because the final track “My fist hungers for justice” blends the best pieces of the score in a most satisfying theme.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 28 / 64

Album excellence: 43%

Highlights:

Musicians Village

Save Kung Fu

Rickshaw Chase

More Cannons!

Po Finds the Truth

Zen Ball Master

My Fist Hungers For Justice

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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