Cannes 2011: Kung Fu Panda returns to the Riviera

Hollywood hit the Croisette in force this morning as Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman turned up to promote animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 2 .

The trio, along with debut director Jennifer Yuh, made their way into a packed press conference after the usual posing-with-a-cuddly-panda photo duties.

Jolie was classy and charming, Black was typically boisterous and Hoffman kept himself amused by offering some hilariously sardonic responses to some of the sillier questions.

The film picks up the story of titular warrior Po (Black), who sets out to defeat evil peacock Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) with the help of fellow ‘Furious Five’ fighter Tigress (Jolie) and red panda master Shifu (Hoffman).

“The trick with sequels is you have to make it better than the first one, and I think we’ve pulled it off,” said Jolie.

“It was more fun the second time around because we’d all gotten to know each other [on the press tour for the first movie] and our characters had history, so it was fun to jump in.”

When asked why he’d signed on for a sequel, Hoffman quipped: “At my age I have no short-term memory, so I can’t answer that…”

Being serious for a moment, he added: “I think we’re in a golden age of animation and I think this is as good as it gets.

“It’s very difficult to make any sequel as good if not better than the first and I do think my colleagues have made a deeper, more emotional film.”

Black, meanwhile, applauded the film’s anti-weapon stance, albeit in his own unique style.

“The Furious Five never use actual weapons. It’s all kung fu, so in a way it’s a non-violent film – it discourages weaponry!” he said.

“I don’t like guns. I like laser blasters, but that’s where I draw the line.”

Amid all the craziness, first-time director Yuh hardly got a look-in, although she did manage to applaud the involvement of exec producer Guillermo del Toro.

“It’s a very long process,” she explained of the film’s three-year production. “Guillermo came in right in the middle and helped us come up with some really great ideas, like making Shen even cooler.

“He cracked a lot of jokes and really cheered us up in the middle of a really long project. He was just an inspiration to work with.”

Kung Fu Panda 2 opens on 10 June.

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