Who doesn’t love ‘Kung Fu Panda’? Back in 2008 Jack Black introduced us to ‘Po’, who quickly became everyone’s favourite Panda. The movie spawned a sequel and a TV series. Now in 2016 we have a Kung Fu Panda trilogy and with Jack Black’s return to form in ‘Goosebumps’ earlier in the year what better time for another adventure with ‘Po’ and the ‘Furious Five’!?
I actually never managed to ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ but don’t worry I plan to rectify that soon. With a quick re-cap from a mate of mine, an enthusiast of the series, I felt prepared for this third installment. I genuinely don’t think not having seen the previous installments will be an issue here as ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ is so easily enjoyable. What I love most about the first film is probably what I enjoy most here too, the martial arts action. I love that DreamWorks have provided us with such great animated action over the years, the best examples of this are the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ trilogy and the ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ films. The story allows the film to take complete advantage of it’s martial arts content with some great fight sequences that are genuinely fun and exciting to watch. The use of China’s history and martial arts culture is again included very well here with the return of a favourite character and the addition of a new one in J.K. Simmons ‘Kai’! ‘Kai’ was a great villain, I loved his design and his dual blades he used during his fight scenes. Simmons is great as this menacing yak, I wasn’t aware he starred in the film and was trying to work out his voice the whole way through the film. When the credits rolled I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been able to work it out! Regardless of this I thought he was great and he had and even better theme accompanying his scenes. This theme mixed together oriental tones with vibes of a southern swap kind of sound, it blended very well together and contributed much to the character of ‘Kai’.
Returning to the film are of course the ‘Furious Five’, ‘Master Shifu’ and ‘Po’ himself. All of whom are their usual brilliant selves, Seth Rogen’s ‘Master Mantis’ probably stood out the most with a couple of good gags but all were great. Bryan Crantson goes from portraying famous screenwriter ‘Trumbo’ to a giant animated panda, and he does it seamlessly. Kate Hudson also joins the cast as panda ribbon twirler ‘Mei Mei’, she has one very funny scene but other than this I felt she was underused. The only other flaw I found with the film was one element of the design/animation of a certain aspect to the story. There are a certain group of characters who have a very distinct and ugly looking design which I just thought seemed out of place with the rest of the sweet animation depicting China and its inhabitants. This is only a minor flaw really but it did irritate me slightly. Whilst the film isn’t as funny as the original it certainly has its moments. There are a couple of very funny scenes and other gags littered throughout the rest of the movie. Alongside this comedy there are also several messages which will be perfect for kids and adults alike; family, identity and team work are only a few of them that the film touches on. They give the story and especially the finale a nice sentimental feel to it.
Some might roll their eyes at a third installment to this series but I’m certainly not one of them. With a great new villain and some awesome combat sequences, cool additions to the cast and plenty of good messages for its audience ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ is a worthy entry into this film series canon. Skadoosh.
Rating – 7.5/10
Question: What is your favourite animated series of films?
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