Kung Fu Panda 3

"Excellent"

Kung Fu Panda 3 Review


This animated trilogy concludes on a very high note with this smart, involving and often hilarious adventure. Both the writing and the animation are especially strong this time around, drawing in bigger themes while still keeping things both thrilling and very silly. But it's the endearing central characters who make it resonate.

As the Dragon Warrior, the panda Po (voiced by Jack Black) is struggling to rise to the challenge to become a teacher, coaxed by his master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). He'd rather be out fighting battles with his five warrior pals Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane (Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross). Then he meets his long-lost father Li (Bryan Cranston), who tells him of a secret homeland for pandas, where Po might be able to find himself. Meanwhile, the power-mad warlord Kai (J.K. Simmons) has broken through from the spirit realm, determined to collect the chi of every master in the mortal world. So it's rather urgent that Po discovers his own chi before Kai finds him.

This is far more than the usual story about discovering your place in life. It's a complex exploration of how our backgrounds and communities contribute to who we are, and why each of us has a distinct role to play. These themes emerge naturally through the snappy, sometimes exhilarating story and characters. In voicing Po, Black finds the perfect balance between goofiness and honest emotion that often eludes him in live-action roles. His interaction with all of the surrounding characters bristles with humour and insight, with sharply funny one-liners peppering every scene. Most of the side roles are spread very thinly, but both Cranston and Simmons register strongly, while Jolie and Hoffman get some solid scenes all their own. And Hudson's riotously flirtatious ribbon-dancing panda easily steals her scenes.

The film is animated to a very high standard, with glorious mountainous landscapes and beautiful flourishes (such as a sequence rendered like an ancient calligraphic scroll). It also features some genuinely exciting action, and a truly awesome climactic moment. The central theme is voiced early on by Shifu: "If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now." And the filmmakers beautifully show that all of us never stop growing and changing, and that each of us has some sort of superpower inside that needs to be let free. The main question is whether the studio will have the inner strength to resist milking the franchise for another episode.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 3:



Kung Fu Panda 3

Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th January 2016

Distributed by: DreamWorks Animation

Production compaines: 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 77 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jennifer Yuh, Alessandro Carloni

Producer: Melissa Cobb

Starring: as Po (voice), as Li (voice), as Shifu (voice), as Tigress (voice), as Crane (voice), as Mr. Ping (voice), as Viper (voice), as Mantis (voice), as Monkey (voice), Krasen Belev as Kai (voice), as Mei Mei (voice), as Oogway (voice), Randall Duk Kim as Bao (voice), Steele Gagnon as Lei Lei (voice), as Big Fun / Hom-Lee (voice), Wayne Knight as Grandma Panda (voice), as Sum (voice), Al Roker as Dim (voice), Willie Geist as Master Bear (voice), Fred Tatasciore as Yoo (voice), Pax Jolie-Pitt as Female Palace Goose (voice), Kelly Cooney as Master Chicken (voice), Stephen Kearin as Farmer Goose / Farmer Rabbit (voice), Mick Wingert as Ming (voice), Ming Tsai as Mrs. Chow (voice), April Hong as Ku Ku (voice), Knox Jolie-Pitt as Meng Meng (voice), Zahara Jolie-Pitt as Shuai Shuai (voice), Shiloh Jolie-Pitt as Master Croc (voice), Jean-Claude Van Damme as Mi (voice), Radzi Chinyanganya as Peony (voice), Lindsey Russell as Dumpling Record Pig (voice), Joseph Izzo as Cheering Bunny (voice), Lena Golia as Panda Villager Kid (voice)

Also starring:

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