Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Kung Fu Panda 3


Synopsis: Po (Jack Black), the Dragon Warrior, is back and reunited with his father, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston). Together they travel to a hidden panda sanctuary where Po can rediscover his roots. But trouble is brewing as a furious spirit named Kai (J.K. Simmons) crosses from the spirit world to the material world, bent on stealing chi from powerful kung fu masters to empower himself. Like the previous villains, he’s coming for the Dragon Warrior, so it’s up to Po to train the pandas to be the fighters they were meant to be and come to terms with who he really is.

Review: Kung Fu Panda 3 was good, but not great. Part of this is because it’s coming off the heels of Kung Fu Panda 2, which was absolutely amazing, but another reason is that it feels a little too similar to the first film. The return and importance of Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), Tigress’ (Angelina Jolie) attitude towards Po in some places, and even some of Po’s attitude and discipline all feel like it’s trying to dig up old glory. There are loads of callbacks that we’re drowning in too, which is a shame because the second movie stood on its own so well.

I also feel like the material’s a bit kidded down, a sharp contrast to the dark places of the previous film. It’s not just the tone, it’s that it uses some cliches that I think most of us have outgrown. One in particular is where one character tells a prolonged lie, only to the people that he lied to turning their back on him. This is particularly egregious because you can see it coming a mile away. Granted, the movie plays with it so the rejection is very short, so that makes it a little more forgivable. Also, the ending fight is a little too… Dragon Ball Z for my taste.

Don’t think this to mean that I hate the movie, though. There’s a lot to love about it. The visuals are still beautiful and Po is still a likable character. The central message is also very good, focusing on accepting who you are. In less competent hands, it might have been a retread of the first film’s message to believe in yourself, but it manages to stand on its own. J.K. Simmons seems to be having a ball hamming up his role as Kai, who has a very intriguing way of fighting, particularly controlling jade parodies of the victim whose chi he’s stolen. That’s pretty cool. I also like the interactions between Po’s adoptive dad (James Hong) and his biological dad, which I think will resonate strongly with kids in similar situations nowadays. Like I said, it may not be the second movie, but it can still stand on its own and enlighten kids as only a Kung Fu Panda movie can.

Fun Tidbit: This is the first movie in the series where the villain was voiced by an American actor. The villains of the previous films were voiced by British actors Ian McShane and Gary Oldman, respectively.

Goto Home Page
Posted under

Social Widgets powered by