Kung Fu Panda 3
Kung Fu Panda 3
Directors: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh
Writers: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Voice Cast: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Seth Rogen, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, David Cross, J.K. Simmons, Randall Duk Kim, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Kate Hudson, James Hong, Steele Gagnon, Liam Knight, Wayne Knight
Synopsis: Continuing his "legendary adventures of awesomeness", Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for martial arts action and some mild rude humor
8 / 10
- Humor was great
- Voice acting was excellent, as the cast still shares the same chemistry that made the previous two good to watch.
- Bryan Cranston was excellent in his new role as Po's estranged long lost father
- Animation was stunning to look at; especially in 3-D
- The cinematography was great. I loved how it managed to capture the broad scope of this adventure.
- The premise is a bit of a rip off from the previous two films, with the added exception of having Po meeting his father this time.
- The story is very predictable, so you already know what's going to happen after the first five minutes.
Over the years, film critics have raved over this franchise as if it's the second coming of "Toy Story." And while I'll agree that the first one was definitely a great movie in it's own right, the sequel was essentially a rip off of the previous film; with the notable exception of Po learning about his past, and how he's adopted. Big shock. I know. Sadly after watching "Kung Fu Panda 3", it seems like this series might starting to repeat itself.
If you honestly look at trilogy as a whole, they all feature the exact same premise, with the only real difference being that we learn a bit more about Po's (Jack Black) past with each sequel.
Po is often portrayed as the lovable f**k up, who's clumsy and stupid as hell. He's presented with a challenge about himself that he's not sure if he can overcome because of his ineptitude. A villain shows up that not even the great "furious five", or Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), can defeat. Po finds out that he's part of some grand destiny, where only he can meet this new villain head on. Cue in training montages, and the end. Like the "Rocky" films by this point, "Kung Fu Panda" has become so formulaic that it's not hard to figure out how each one ends based on the trailers alone. But does that make the "Kung Fu Panda" movies bad though? Not exactly.
For the most part, they're very entertaining to watch. The humor is always cleverly written, and it still features some of the best voice acting that you'll ever find in an animated feature film series. Hell, I'm surprised after three movies, they still manage to hold the same great chemistry they had from the first one.
As for the animation itself, I can't say there's anything wrong with it. The animation is breathtaking as one would expect, and I love how Dreamworks continues to add various Asian cultural references into it's surrealistic animation for the "Kung Fu Panda" movies, as it's quite a treat to watch; especially if you see it in 3-D.
As I mentioned before, the film does delve a bit more into Po's past. As some fans might remember, Po discovered he was adopted as a baby, and it was heavily implied we would end up meeting his real father in the sequel. Enter Bryan Cranston (Li), who's slowly starting to become a major player in the Hollywood circuit these days. While I can't say Bryan adds anything comically to film, he does provide much needed emotional weight to the role, as Po's estranged father.
What I liked about their relationship was the fact that Dreamworks took it's time developing it. It didn't rush through the emotional transgressions of guilt that Li felt for abandoning his son ages ago, or lying to him recently because he felt it was necessary to save his life. If anything, the film itself handled the relationship organically to where you could easily see that even though Li was forced to do some horrible things to protect his son in the past, but you never get a sense that he's a bad person. In fact, he's probably the deepest character in the series thus far that only makes him all the more interesting. Add in some brilliant voice work by Bryan Cranston, and it's easy to see why this film was well received by most audiences.
While I may not be the biggest fan of this franchise, I can't it's say a bad movie series either. Granted, it may not have the deep psychological themes that "Animalisa" or "Inside Out" had going for it last year, or the brilliant execution in story telling like "Shaun the Sheep." However, if you're just looking for a decent popcorn flick that the entire family can enjoy, then "Kung Fu Panda 3" is worth checking out in theaters.
© 2016 Steven Daniels