Kung Fu Panda 3
In this third film in the Kung Fu Panda series, Jack Black returns as Po, the Dragon Warrior leader of the Furious Five (Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Crane and Viper), who get little screen time in this film. As the film begins, Po’s master tells him that he has taught him everything he can, now Po is to teach others. But we quickly see that is a disaster, shattering Po’s confidence.
We are then taken to a spirit world, where we see Po’s former master Oogway relaxing in bliss when he is confronted by a supernatural entity Kai, who he defeated five hundred years ago. Kai wants to rule the world and needs Oogway’s chi (an Eastern spirituality concept defined as the force that sets the world and everything in it into motion. It is also the force that sustains all things once they are created). When Kai gets Oogway’s chi, he then returns to the mortal world with a goal of taking Po’s chi so he can rule the world. Got all that straight? And this is a fun animated children’s film about a dumpling loving fat panda?
Meanwhile, Po is suffering through an identity crisis. All of this is complicated when his biological father Li shows up and takes him back to a Secret Panda Village, much to the chagrin of Po’s adopted father Mr. Ping, who has raised him for twenty years. Li tells Po he was sent by the Universe (another Eastern religion/philosophy concept). Po will need to save the world against the evil Kai.
The film includes a lot of Eastern religion/philosophy content (chi, universe, ying and yang, etc.). It was not nearly as fun or entertaining as the previous two films. Although there were a lot of children in the theatre, we didn’t hear a lot of laughter during the film, and one wonders what they make of concepts such as chi, universe and ying and yang.
Several scenes seem included just to show off 3D. Overall, we were very disappointed in the film, despite excellent animation and the stellar cast that provides the voices for the characters – returnees Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Lui, Jackie Chan, David Cross and newcomers J.K, Simmons, Bryan Cranston and Kate Hudson. The film is directed by Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh and written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.