Wednesday, August 3, 2016

[Review] Kung Fu Panda 3

I know, this one is a little late. But according to the "Panda way", oversleeping is a requirement. Anyway, Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni's Kung Fu Panda 3 gracefully continues a solid streak for the well-liked franchise.

In the opening sequence, the film's villain Kai (voiced by J.K. Simmons) is unleashed, and this long-horned Yak warrior is one powerful dude. Then, we catch up with our unassuming panda--the roly-poly Po (Jack Black), who is now a Dragon Master. Early on, Po reunites (and by "reunites" I mean "bumps bellies") with his long lost biological father (Bryan Cranston), who leads him toward a sacred place to get his 'Qi' up, which is the only possible way to kick Kai's butt.

This beautifully animated film renders itself a cut above most of the big studio modern 3D-styled products. It displays a textured look, rather than that smooth balloony stuff. The wonderfully detailed backgrounds, vibrant colors, and frenetic frames make for some dazzling sequences: An epic battle between Kai and Oogway (a Kung Fu Tortoise) in the abstract spiritual realm. An ethereal trip down a glowing hall of heros and treasures. A magnificent introduction to a secret panda village that's located where green grass, waterfalls, and snowy mountains converge. The visuals employ a variety of aesthetics--The "ancient tale" sequences break into attractive 2D sketches, and the eye-popping training sessions kick through a series of different color schemes (Hero comes to mind).

And in addition to the voice actors mentioned earlier, the cast includes a bunch of notable names like Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson, James Hong, and Jackie Chan. The legendary Guillermo del Toro is on board as executive producer, and the ever-consistent Hans Zimmer provides the spirited and enchanting musical score.

The jovial story moves at a really swift pace, and it possesses a low key sense of humor that never tries too hard (looking at you, Secret Life of Pets and Angry Birds). It also carries a big, big panda heart. During a poignant reflection on the past, we witness the tragic scene of Po getting split from his parents amidst a fiery war. The film fully embraces the importance of Po's adoptive father and his biological father. And mostly, it's all about rising to the occasion and "Being the best you that you can be." I wanted to give Kung Fu Panda 3 a big, big panda hug.

( 8/10 )

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  1. "According to the 'panda way,' oversleeping is a requirement." Gosh darn it, man, some of the stuff you write in your posts is just straight-up funny.

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