Kung Fu Panda 3 – Worth Seeing in 3-D
Review by Jen Rush – 3/5 buckets of popcorn
I was slightly apprehensive going into the third installment of the Kung Fu Panda franchise. Historically speaking, sequels are never as good as the original, let alone a third film. I was expecting to see a thin story line, poorly written dialogue and horrible animation. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised with a touching film that far exceeded my expectations. Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh returned to direct the family-focused film. In this adventure, Po (Jack Black) is faced with the supernatural villain, Kai (J.K. Simmons), who has swept across China in an attempt to destroy all the kung fu masters. He is also introduced to his biological father, Li (Bryan Cranston) and brought to a secret panda village where he is to connect with his ancestry. By far the most enjoyable aspect of the plot was the very subtle pro-LGBT message within the “two dads” paradigm. Their relationship was cute and quirky, adding an edge that the movie would have otherwise lacked.
The only area where the film fell a bit flat for me was in the comedy. There were a few fun jokes here and there, as well as the odd nudge towards the adults in the crowd, but overall I never found myself tearing up with laughter. Not to say it wasn’t at all funny, but I felt it could have been improved upon. The all-star cast included Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan (Among many others). Every character was unique and engaging while just missing the mark of uproarious laughter.
Highest credits must be given to the animation team on this film. Visually speaking, the entire experience was stunning. Everything from the panda fur to the way the leaves on the trees moved in the wind. Incredible detail was put into the movie and it is worth paying attention to. I should also mention that as a rule, I strongly dislike 3-D movies; I am happy to make an exception for this one. At no point was the 3-D jarring or hard to watch. At one point in the film, I was even caught off guard by a bubble that happened to catch the corner of my eye.
Having only seen parts of the second movie, I cannot fully comment on how the story flows from one movie to the next. I can however, say that at no point was I lost in the story. It stands well on its own as a film. From what I can tell, it also fits nicely into the rest of the enchanting collection.