An animated movie about a panda bear who masters the martial art of kung fu has obviously been popular enough to spark a successful franchise. Now with this third installment aptly entitle Kung Fu Panda 3, fans who found joy in this series will be hoping for more of the same. If I go by just what I know about it, I’d say that people who love the first two won’t be too disappointed with what is seen in this installment.
Kung Fu Panda 3 focuses on Po (Jack Black) as his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston) resurfaces with the hope of establishing a relationship with him. The two reunite and head to a land where tons of pandas spend their time living as normal existence as you would expect for pandas. This is a revelation for the young panda that gives him a glimpse into a life previously unknown to him, but when the evil Kai (J.K. Simmons) arrives onto the scene looking to vanquish all of China’s kung fu masters, Po has to shift his focus and prepare for the fight of his life.
Much like other films from this genre and franchise, Kung Fu Panda 3 is predictably a family oriented feature that looks to please its viewers the way that only an animated film of this nature can. From that standpoint, audiences will most likely not be disappointed by what they get as there are plenty of opportunities to laugh and be amused by what’s being placed on the screen for them.
While the expected story here is about a panda doing martial arts, the primary portion of Kung Fu Panda 3 is probably more about family than anything. This plays throughout some of the meatiest parts of the movie’s run time as we explore the feelings of all involved as Po’s real father comes back into his life. This predictably causes issues that need to be addressed, but it also opens up chances for the orphaned panda to grow as an individual.
While I don’t have a huge issue with the movie being done this way, there is a part of me that feels as if it lingers on a little bit longer than it should have. This is obviously done to help lengthen the film because the other aspect of the plot is a bit too simple and probably wouldn’t be able to stretch long enough to make for a decent size feature length picture. Then again, I doubt kids will care about this because they’re interested in seeing it to be entertained.
In the end, what’s being put out here is something that is easy to find entertaining for both children and the people who are into these movies in general. While none of it is going to change how we look at animated films, there’s some good stuff in Kung Fu Panda 3 that people will be able to find value in. I think that’s why people who head out to see this will be satisfied. Even though it could have been improved by shortening a little bit of what’s here, that’s probably the most important thing for moviegoers of all ages.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Film Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: January 29, 2016
Distributor: Dreamworks Animation