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Book Review: The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2

May 27, 2011

Released May 2011

Page count: 156 pages

Size: 10” x 11”

The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2

Written by Tracey Miller-Zarneke

Foreword by Dustin Hoffman

Published by Insight Editions

http://www.insighteditions.com

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The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2 Book Review By Erin V.

Reading through this book, it dawned on me how Kung Fu Panda is one of the most artistic series of DreamWorks films – in a painterly sense I mean.  Most animated films have a unique visual style – some more so than others – and it is this that makes these books so enjoyable.

On each animated film, new technical challenges abound.  During a good film we usually don’t analyze everything while we watch it the first time, but afterwards it’s good to be able to appreciate the work that went into the production.  In Kung Fu Panda 2 in particular, there were intense lighting situations (using light/dark contrasts), manipulating explosions and fireworks, and animating martial arts choreography.  But other challenges in animation come with designing new characters.

In particular, Lord Shen in this film provided a challenge.  As you’ll see in the film, he’s an albino peacock, which means white – a hard colour to provide contrast on – as well as covered in feathers and silk.  On top of that, his design had to be such that he is be able to ‘act’ well through expressions and movement.  His tail feathers in particular are a feat of design.  Watching him on-screen is amazing, with his fluid, yet calculated movements.

There’s so much to say about different parts of this book.  Divided into several sections, The Art of Kung Fu Panda 2 provides a look at the characters (both old and new), locations, and story of the new film.  I always find the various artists takes on different story elements interesting – it provides a further depth to the film.  Beautifully put together, artists and film lovers will be happy to add this one to their collection.  I love looking at and reading about the artwork behind films in these books.  It brings your appreciation for them to a whole new level.

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Distributed by Paramount & animated at DreamWorks, Kung Fu Panda 2 hit theatres May 26th.  From Insight Editions, The Art of Kung Fu Panda is available in stores now.  You can read our full movie reviews of Kung Fu Panda 2 here.  

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