Even sitting in the 2nd row in a theater full of noisy kids, Kung Fu Panda 2 nearly topped my list of favorite films this year.
Potential spoilers follow: There's this one bit in the film where Po is remembering his childhood, and it is rather sad, and very expertly executed for emotional effect. Our theater was full of children, and I remember being distracted for a moment by all the crying babies. And then I paid attention to the cries, and realized that these were not "mommy this movie is too long" cries from babies. These were "oh what a sad panda" cries from children who were old enough to understand what was happening.
So I asked myself: "If I were the filmmaker, is this the effect I would want?" And the answer was "yes."
I then qualified that. "Yes, this is the emotional effect I would want, but I need to immediately turn this sadness into a heroic moment."
As I thought that, the music changed, and the Kung Fu began. The heroic moment took over the scene, and bravo, Dreamworks, all the crying stopped.
It was pretty amazing.
Please note that just because I'm able to analyze a moment like that on the fly during my first viewing of the film doesn't mean I wasn't touched by it. I'm not a complete monster. This isn't like that one time I gleefully watched a pair of children cry in wide-eyed horror at the mean dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.
Anyway, great movie. But do try to see it when the theater is not full of children. And don't sit in the 2nd row.