Saturday, May 28, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 - Review

A new challenger approaches for "The Dragon Warrior" Po and the Furious Five: Kai (J.K. Simmons), a sword-swinging yak warrior who escaped the spirit realm by stealing the chi of legendary martial artists and turning them into his jade minions. Only able to fight chi with chi, Po must learn another martial art power while also ascending into the role of head teacher and grappling with the sudden arrival of his birth father (Bryan Cranston) and his request to return to their secret panda village. KUNG FU PANDA 3 is both a better film than the depressing second entry into the franchise and a worthy ending chapter to these animated adventures, as evident by its very overtly celebratory conclusion. It once again boasts some amazing computer-generated action choreography, a beautiful Hans Zimmer score, fantastic sound design, and some nicely comedic performances and gags. Some of the flashy creative decisions by returning director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and her new cohort Alessandro Carloni, such as the rampant split-screening, don't always work but are made up by other ones, such as the gorgeous sequence where an exposition-laden scroll is drawn in 2D. Though I did really enjoy the safe arms Dreamworks Animation is willing to hold us in, I felt it was too safe and it got to be a bit ho-hum. Maybe it is my own lack of passion with the series or the still severe burn I received with KUNG FU PANDA 2 but the story itself is as predictable as a 22 minute television episode. A new environment, a new monster of the week, a new power, squabbling that is easily wrapped up, and a new deus ex machina all are lay to bear here. They even try to have a body count and say that your favorites are doomed forever but even a kid will know that everything will work alright in the end. Not a total revelation or a nice rebirth to the Dreamworks Renaissance but a wise choice to be enthralled by.


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