Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 3 – Beautifully Animated Comedy


Kung Fu Panda 3

Cast: The voices of Jack Black,Angelina Jolie, Bryan Cranston, J.K. Simmons,Dustin Hoffman, Kate Hudson, James Hong,Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, David Cross

Directors: Jennifer Yuh, Alessandro Carloni

This beautifully animated, funny, fantasy actioner upholds family values,self- knowledge,perseverance and teamwork, and that’s the best thing about it. That and the A list stars who lend their voices.Otherwise, as sequels go, it falls short of the expectations raised by its predecessors.More importantly, the story flaunts non-Scriptural  ideas which will confuse the young.

The titular  character, podgy panda Po (voiced by Jack Black), continues, in this third outing, to be the unlikely hero who is set to assume the mantle of  the legendary Dragon Warrior, but  realises he still has a long way to ago before he can become a True Warrior. This, he realises after his liliputian mentor, Shifu (voice of  Dustin Hoffman) leaves him in charge of  the Furious Five (voiced by Angelina Jolie Pitt, Jackie Chan, David Cross, Seth Rogen and Lucy Liu) black belts who had helped  him in the past.

The question of identity has (always) befuddled poor Po and things take a happy turn for the foodie when he is reunited with his long-lost biological panda father, Li (voiced by Bryan “Breaking Bad” Cranston) Together, father and son travel to a panda sanctuary where Po meets the dancing Mei Mei (Kate Hudson) It must be said the new found Dad does not dampen Po’s love for his goose foster father and vendor of dumplings Mr. Ping (James Hong).But joy is tempered by conflict as Po must battle Kai (J.K. Simmons) the power-hungry erstwhile  ally of Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) the tortoise inventor of kung fu who had sat alone in a cave for years, meditating on the Confucian concept of Self which may (or may not ) be similar to the Grecian Know Thyself.

Evil consumes Kai after he steals the sacred Ch’i, a powerful energy which is believed to form the  essence of the soul. Now, the Beast of Vengeance and Maker of Widows, Kai seeks to enrich himself with ch’i stolen from kung fu masters and rule the world with jade zombies. As in mythological climes of yore, the celluloid anthropomorphic realm doesn’t  discriminate between good and bad, and is accessible to denizens of (Chinese) terra firma.

It is interesting that the Divergent series – Allegiant underlines morality and self-acceptance while Kung Fu Panda 3 posits stuff like ‘Time is illusory’. But I’m not Einstein and as I said here-above, kids will be perplexed.