Black, Jolie find nonviolent themes in 'Panda'
CANNES, France – Animals of many sorts mix it up in "Kung Fu Panda 2," yet for all the fighting, voice stars Jack Black and Angelina Jolie said the animated sequel carries a message of nonviolence.
At the Cannes Film Festival, where Black, Jolie and co-star Dustin Hoffman turned up to promote the movie, the stars said Thursday that their tale about a tubby panda, a fierce tiger and their interspecies band of warriors can teach kids about respect and restraint, as well as strength.
"I don't see this as a film that's too violent," Jolie said of the movie, which pits Black's Po the panda, Jolie's Tigress and their team, the Furious Five, against a villainous peacock using gunpowder and cannons to destroy the followers of kung fu that protect ancient China.
"Because even in the final battle, it's the inner peace and the way of kind of sending back negative energy that is actually what wins against aggression and violence and war weapons," Jolie added.
"It's the one that doesn't want to use violence" that saves the day.
Black pointed out that "the Furious Five never use actual weapons of any kind."
"It's all kung fu. So in a way, it's a nonviolent film," he said. "I don't like guns. Don't own one. I love laser blasters. That's where I draw the line."
A sequel to the 2008 hit, "Kung Fu Panda 2" opens in U.S. theaters May 26 and rolls out to the rest of the world over the summer.
Jolie was in Cannes with partner Brad Pitt and their six children. Pitt stars in director Terrence Malick's Cannes entry "The Tree of Life," which premieres Monday and is competing for the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.
Pitt and Jolie's boys take martial arts classes, and the actress said it's an activity that benefits their spirits and minds as well as their bodies.
"Boys are boys, and they have a certain kind of energy naturally," Jolie said. "It's wonderful to get them involved in martial arts, to teach them about the discipline and respect and control of their own bodies, and I think to ignore that is a part of humanity and human beings and especially boys is wrong.
"So it's to help guide them through and help give them some sense of what is a positive thing, what is a good guy, what should you fight against if you need to?"
The movie deals with questions of spirituality, inner peace and the meaning of existence. A reporter asked Black if pandas ever have such existential moments, an idea he initially dismissed, then wryly considered the possibility.
"Maybe they do for some brief moments. While gnawing on a bamboo shoot, they think, what is life all about? Where am I going in this meaningless universe?" Black quipped. "Maybe all life forms have fleeting moments of existentiality. You can print that."