Genre: Computer animation, action comedy
Length: 95 minutes
Main Cast: Jack Black
Production Company: Dreamworks Animation
Directed By: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh
Written by Nelson Cumming
Po (Jack Black) is back alongside Furious Five, Master Shifu and Master Oogway in the third installment of the Kung Fu Panda 3 franchise. With the success of the first two installments, the pressure for Dreamworks to make a worthy sequel has never been more intense and, to a certain degree, this movie succeeds in doing just that. Kung Fu Panda has enough brightly coloured action scenes and slapstick to keep the kids happy. This movie also has enough powerful moments in the film for adults too. So it is also a success on that level.
Kung Fu Panda 3 kicks off with the villainous Kai (Played by J.K. Simmons who’s character is seamlessly indestructible) who has returned to the village with the intent to defeat the kung fu masters to gain their chi (Their life energy) to gain power and immortality. Po “The Dragon Warrior” has to learn how to defeat Kai by knowing who he is, his purpose in life and what it take to be a dragon warrior. The premise is in the normal Kung Fu Panda style: The good guy fights bad guy thing. It works well. It may seem repetitive but as I always say “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”
Kung Fu Panda provides more slapstick comedy for kids than ever before. You have giant panda bears rolling down hills and crashing into trees and Panda bears that spit out hundreds of dumplings from their mouth like bullets in a submachine gun. Kids will find that funny but there is also a scene near the beginning where Po meets his biological father for the first time in the middle of a very busy Chinese restaurant. The only characters in the whole town who don’t know they are related are Po and his father. So there is comedy sprinkled throughout.
The main idea of Kung Fu Panda 3 is the relationship between Po and his fathers (biological and non-biological), which is a wonderful thing to witness. This movie plays around all sorts of ideas around these dads that would take a long time to list. All I am going to say about this is interesting, moving and engaging. Great character development overall from Po in this film. While it is not as moving as Kung Fu Panda 2 it is certainly very good and well worth it. It is better then the action scenes, which in itself was well made.
The action scenes and animation from Kung Fu Panda 3 stayed true to its predecessors. It had the normal computer animation while paying homage to the animation from the Land of the Rising Sun. They use comic book style panels; selective shades of colours (particularly yellow, green and pink) and Chinese lettering to give this movie some level authenticity, the authenticity of ancient china, superpowers and adventures in a Japanese manga style.
Even though Kung Fu Panda 3 does not have the same adventure feel like the first one, not does it have the same amount of depth in the second one; it mixes between the two and works quite well. Kung Fu Panda 3 is a worthy addition to the franchise ***3/4