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“Kung Fu Panda 2” has fur-ocious anger-management message

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Kung Fu Panda 2

Rated PG

Your son’s a “ginger” — not the most popular label in his middle school. But when one particularly mean-spirited boy singles him out with jokes and jabs, he sees red.

Your son plots his revenge. He compiles a list of blistering retorts that he plans to launch at the boy. He commiserates with friends over his misfortune. Eventually, it’s all he can talk about, until everyone grows weary of the topic. When a close friend points out how consumed your son has become, he realizes how far a few ugly words have burrowed into his brain. Determined to rise above it all, he ignores the bully’s taunts. Unable to rile your son, the other boy gives up and moves on.

Your son learns that holding on to anger only destroys us, but with a little work, we can find the strength to let it go. Po, the furry star of “Kung Fu Panda 2,” sees that truth in action with his own enemy, Shen. Available this month on Blu-ray and DVD, “Kung Fu Panda 2” provides families with a great springboard for discussing the destructive power of anger. Watch it with your kids, use our Talk Together points, and then, Play Together with our “Don’t Blow It” game.

In “Kung Fu Panda 2,” Po is happily fighting evil with his friends, the Furious Five, and seeking the inner peace that is holding him back from achieving greatness in his martial arts skills. Then the Five learn that the evil Lord Shen has developed a new weapon that no one can defeat.

Shen was part of China’s ruling peacock clan when a soothsayer gave his parents some troubling news: their self-centered son would one day be defeated by an “enemy of black and white.” In anger, Shen orders an entire village of pandas wiped out. Years later, Shen’s anger has taken over his every thought.

Po and the Furious Five set out to find and eliminate Shen’s super weapon, a cannon that he plans to use to invade Gongmen City. They battle his army of wolves and gorillas but the Five are captured and Po is injured in a blast. As the soothsayer nurses him back to health, Po finds inner peace and rescues his friends. Po urges Shen to forget the past, let go of his anger, and choose a new path. But Shen refuses and meets a sad end. Po realizes the devastation of unresolved anger.

Talk together

During his battle with Lord Shen, Po learns something about his past. What did Shen tell him about his parents? What was the real story? How did Po react to Shen’s news?

Po could have been very angry about what happened to his parents. Instead, he chooses to forgive and move on. Talk about a time you were hurt by someone. How did you feel about the person who hurt you? Were you angry? Sad? Surprised? What helped you turn those bad feelings into something positive? (For example, talking with your mom or dad.)

Why did Mr. Ping adopt Po? Po thinks of Mr. Ping as his father, even though they are different. What makes you feel like part of your family?

Play together: Don’t blow it!

You will need:

• Plastic soda bottle (empty)

• Baking soda

• Vinegar

• Funnel

Place the funnel in the top of the bottle and pour in two tablespoons of baking soda. Set the bottle in a shallow pan. Give each player a small cup full of vinegar.

When the game begins, one player pours a little of his or her vinegar into the bottle and every other player follows very quickly in order. The baking soda will begin to fizz immediately.

The player whose addition causes the mixture to overflow is eliminated. The game continues until one person is left. (You may have to add more baking soda in between rounds.)

Talk about how anger, just like the fizz in the bottle, can build up very quickly and spill out in very ugly ways. Remind your kids to “neutralize” those emotions to avoid saying or doing something they’ll regret.

© 2011, Cinematters.

Updated 4:38 pm, December 9, 2016
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