‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ answers and raises questions

Were you wondering about how a goose could lay a panda egg in “Kung Fu Panda”? Particularly when we’re talking about a gander? Was this going to be one of those cross-species inexplicable pairings with an appeal for understanding? After all, there seems to be a potential pairing between a tiger and a panda.

No, we’re playing things a bit more literal, or at least, as literal as you can get in an animated feature about a dragon warrior who is not a dragon, but an overweight panda who was raised by a noodle shop owner gander and loves turnips instead of bamboo. “Kung Fu Panda 2” gives us some answers while raising a few more while providing some solid family entertainment.

This is the back story of how Po (Jack Black) became the adopted son of Mr. Ping (James Hong). It began with a megalomaniac white peacock named Shen (Gary Oldman). A soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) foretold that Shen would be defeated by a warrior of black and white and Shen decided to kill all the pandas. We know that at least one survived, but how will our Po defeat this elegant mastermind and his powerful dragon cannons?

Back to help him are Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross). They also attempt to elicit help from Master Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Master Ox (Dennis Haysbert) into action after the defeat and death of Master Rhino (Victor Garber).

The action animation is excellent, particularly in the continued characterization of animal fighting styles.

If this movie answers just how Po got to be the adopted son of a noodle-making goose, it also raises some questions.  Are all the animals to have been found in China–particularly the peacocks, rhinos and gorillas?

Are there peacocks in China? The Indian Peafowl is native to India and South Asia. It is the national bird of India and the provincial bird of Punjab. The green Peafowl is native to Burma to Java.  In China, the peacock is considered the manifestation of the phoenix on earth. It was the symbol of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The Chinese were the first people to raise them domestically. The Phoenicians brought the peacock to Egypt. Later, the Romans raised them and the bird spread to the rest of Europe.

White peacocks were developed by selective breeding and are a case of leucism (reduction of all types of skin pigmentation not just melanin ) and not true albinism (which is the complete or partial absence of melanin pigment in the skin).

There’s a possibility that the Indian rhino once had a range that included China. There’s a bronze rhinoceros figure with silver inlay that dates from the Western Han period (202 BC – 9 AD). That sculpture had a saddle on it and resides, sans rider, at the Tiananmen Square National Museum in Beijing. File:Xihan rhino, gold & silver inlays.JPG

The Indian rhino once roamed Pakistan and Burma (now the Republic of the Union of Myanmar).  The size range of the Indian rhino is 5,500 to 7, 100 pounds for the larger adult male.

The Javan rhino once roamed India, Burma, Malaysia and Sumatra and now there are only 40 of them in Java, Indonesia. The Sumatran rhino is found in Borneo and Sumatra. It is the smallest rhino and one of the rarest mammals in the world and weighs about 1,500 pounds.

There are also wolves in China and their populations are on the rise bringing problems to Mongolian sheep herders and overrunning a rural airport, due to polices protecting wild populations.

So perhaps we’d have wanted an orangutan instead of a gorilla because except for the ones in Chinese zoos, I could find no references to gorillas in China.

2 comments

  1. The Indian rhino differs from the Chinese bronze in the small detail of its horn count. It may be that the bronze is based on observations in Indo-China of Sumatran rhinos.

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    • That’s wonderful to know. Thanks for writing.

      My husband, also an Ian, and I have an affection for rhinos and hope more will be done so that they might survive.

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