The world’s favourite, loveable panda Po is back for some kung fu fighting in the third instalment of the beloved franchise, Kung Fu Panda 3.
When Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) declares his retirement, Po (Jack Black) is given the role as teacher to the Furious Five members – Tigress (Angeline Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Crane (David Cross) and Monkey (Jackie Chan). However, Po finds the task difficult after the members are injured due to his teachings. Po’s life is further complicated after the appearance of his long-lost biological panda father Li Shan (Bryan Cranston). After an attack by former Kung Fu Masters, Po and his father travel to a secret panda village and bond with one another whilst trying to discover the secret of chi in order to stop the villainous spirit warrior, Kai (J.K. Simmons).
Like most franchises, the second instalment in the series suffered the sophomore problem but greatly redeemed itself with this third film. Kung Fu Panda 3 focuses more on Po’s personal story and growth with the introduction of his biological father and love interest Mei (Kate Hudson), characters which elevated the emotional aspect of the film.
Of course, the hilarity and fun is not lost especially with Black’s entertaining humour. Black is the complete embodiment of the character he’s playing; his lively and playful personality resonating throughout Po. Black delivers his lines with ease, assisted by the funny dialogue that often refers back to ‘dumplings’; an amusing and favourite running gag for the kids. This time around, the series is packed with new and comical characters to keep the storyline fresh and entertaining. New cast members Hudson and Simmons provide characters that help Po on his spiritual growth to achieving chi and also create an enjoyable atmosphere on screen.
Directors Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni effectively balance the vivid animation with solid, kid-friendly humour that is even bearable for adults to watch. Like its predecessors, the film relies on its bright and eye-catching animations to entertain viewers. Added with fast-paced scenes and dynamic sequences, Kung Fu Panda 3 stands out as one of this year’s best animated films.
A wonderful lesson about faith, courage and friendship, Kung Panda 3 is a adorable watch for the whole family.