Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
  • Time: 95 min
  • Genre: Animation | Action | Adventure
  • Directors: Jennifer Yuh, Alessandro Carloni
  • Cast: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Kate Hudson


When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas.


  • Everything happens so fast in this new Kung Fu Panda installment, just like it did for the previous two. Though hardly necessary, the people seem to respond well to continuing this franchise, so here it is.

    When kung fu warrior, Po (Jack Black), meets his long lost father, he gets invited to follow him to the secret land of pandas. Meanwhile, the evil spirit warrior, Kai (J.K. Simmons), is trying to defeat every kung fu master, stealing their powers.

    While none of this is connected to the first two movies, the tone definitely is. We’re still given that animated slapstick comedy that these films excel at so well. But there’s way too much happening at once, and the jokes are always amidst the action, hardly ever giving us a chance to breathe.

    Overstimulation aside, the aesthetics are really what carry us through to the end. Without them, this movie would feel very void of any character at all. Every bit of scenery is beautiful and you wish there was a secret panda land that you, too, could visit.

    Getting through the by-the-numbers first act is probably the biggest challenge here. Scenes seem added only for the purpose of entertainment without actually enhancing the script. And a dozen new characters get introduced, raising the head count, but dropping any depth that gives us a reason to be invested.

    For a family movie, it’s very heavy on the details. But Po is stupid enough that he has to ask questions so that we, the audience, can understand things–you know, just in case we don’t.

    Kung Fu Panda is cheesy and silly, but still entertaining. It’s also a movie for kids, and based on the box office results, I’d say they hit their mark.

  • Quickie Review:

    Po (Jack Black) has become a great Kung Fu warrior of awesomeness, but he has yet to take on the most challenging task of being a master: becoming a teacher. Meanwhile a new threat, Kai has returned from the spirit realm to conquer the mortal world by defeating all Kung Fu masters. Po must train his new found panda family to work together and defeat Kai. Kung Fu Panda 3, simply put is amazing. There is endless fun and laughter to be had throughout the movie. At the same time there is a lot of heart behind the diverse set of characters. This is a perfect family film for all ages, rounding out a franchise that is one of the best trilogies in animation.

    Full Review:

    I love this franchise. The first movie was a pleasant surprise, and the sequel introduced a terrific new villain, exploring some dark emotional themes. I was nervous whether the third instalment would live up to the standards set by the previous films. Oh it definitely does.

    I have to begin with how absolutely gorgeous the animation is in this movie. It’s breath taking from the very first frame. The depictions of the spirit realm, the fights, the different environments, everything was artistically beautiful. Something else I like about the Kung Fu Panda movies is that each villain introduced is unique in their own way, and this time it’s no different (in that the villain is so different). Kai was funny, but when he is menacing you downright know not to mess with him. The most threatening types of villains are the ones that you just can’t figure out how they can be beat by our hero. Kai is exactly that.

    While the animation, the fights, and villains are great in this franchise, the best thing about it is the attention to the growth of Po. He is always facing new and different challenges, which in this film is to become a teacher, a true master, by recognising the strengths in himself and others. He will always be the clumsy, gullible, food junkie we love but with each challenge he learns something new about himself and what’s most important to him. These are great lessons for kids to watch, and very relatable themes for us adults. Of course, I can’t forget to mention how funny this movie is. I was consistently lol-ing throughout the movie, and I wasn’t alone. I just love how Po will always fanboy over mythical things even at the most epic climatic moments of a fight scene. The movie knows exactly how to tread the line between serious emotion and levity.

    With this release this franchise now is not just one of my favourite animation trilogies of all time, but also one of my favourite trilogies in movies general! This is great entertainment for families, both kids and adult. A movie with incredible visuals and animations, great emotional story, and amusing loveable characters. Oh, and the cutest baby pandas of all time is definitely a bonus!

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  • It seems that whenever an animated film is a hit nowadays, a sequel is a given and the idea of a franchise gets the studio heads salivating. The quality tends to decline as the movies go on, with the exception of the Toy Story films, yet as long as the money piles up they’ll just continue to churn them out – the increasingly unbearable Ice Age franchise being the worst offender. It was never in doubt that the hugely successful Kung Fu Panda (2008) would get a sequel, and when it came it was surprisingly good; a feast for the eyes backed by Gary Oldman’s fantastic vocal performance and a serious undertone of genocide. It’s taken 5 years for number 3 to finally arrive, so was a third instalment truly justified?

    Well yes and no, with a lot more emphasis on the yes. The series’ strongest suit has always been the visuals, and the explosive, exciting action sequences here are some of the best in animation history. But the ideas running through the first two films were more or less ‘stay true to yourself’ and ‘follow your dreams’, and here it seems to be highlighting the importance of family, themes which are interchangeable and simplistic. So more of the same then, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Picking up the story not long after the events of Kung Fu Panda 2, Po (Jack Black) is still juggling his time between his adoptive father Mr. Ping (James Hong) and his noodle stand, and training with Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the Furious Five.

    While Po is viewed as a hero and seems to be enjoying his celebrity status a bit too much, Shifu reminds him of his position as the Dragon Warrior, and feels it is time that the chubby panda takes on more responsibility by training his friends Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross) in the art of kung fu. Meanwhile, ancient warrior Kai (J.K. Simmons) battles his former friend Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) in the Spirit Realm and steals enough of his chi to return to the Mortal Realm. Using the chi of defeated masters in the form of jade warrior soldiers, Kai hopes to seek out Po and defeat the famed Dragon Warrior. However, Po is somewhat distracted by the return of his actual father Li (Bryan Cranston), a jolly panda who hopes teach his son the delights of being a panda.

    Despite Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh’s third instalment sharing a lot in common with the two that came before both thematically and story-wise – despite the introduction of the ingenious jade warriors and equipping Kai with a sense of humour, the film is again about Po tapping into unknown powers to defeat an evil baddie – it retains the series’ effortless charm. Black is again on form as, well, Jack Black, and his distinctly American brand of humour at odds with the more straight-faced bad-asses surrounding him is one of the key aspects to these movies’ success. But the real plaudits must go to the visual effects department, who have stepped up their game no end to create a truly wonderfully realised world. Dreamworks apparently have plans to make six Kung Fu Panda films, and although I’ll certainly watch them if they’re made, this trilogy-capper seems to be a fitting closure.

    Rating: 4/5

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