Kung Fu Panda 3
Director: Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Starring: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu
As Po(Jack Black) enjoys the perks of being the Dragon Warrior, a mysterious panda Li(Bryan Cranston) visits town. After they discover that they are father and son, Po tries to come to terms with being a panda while socialising with other pandas. Meanwhile, an unhinged spirit collector and an evil muscular bull from the spiritual realm, Kai(J.K Simmons) dreams of domination, because that’s all that bad guys seemingly think about. The only obstacle in his way — a kung-fu trained panda.
What follows is a rehashing of familiar ideas. A few training montages, constant talk about chi and inspirational monologues later, we settle for the fact that this movie is not going to be anything revolutionary. The two must showdown in an epic confrontation because Kai wants to take over the mortal realm. The confrontation turns out to be anything but epic but more on that later.
The franchise, which revolves around China-based animals who talk in American accent is clearly suffering from a case of franchise fatigue. But if Rohit Shetty can create three Golmaals, and plan a fourth, we can forgive three Kung-Fu Pandas.
The series is arguably the best animated franchise that comes to recent memory but has clearly begun to lose steam. After a promising first half, the film is weighed down by the same old routines that we have gotten used to. Jack Black, as the voice of the panda is arguably the best thing about the movie and carries the film for most of its duration. Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack adds serenity to surroundings.
As expected, Po must avenge his master yet again, and in order to do so, must train an army of pandas. The physical comedy of the fluffy and bumbling pandas is seen here, but greatly magnified. The Kung Fu Panda movies rely heavily on the cuteness of its protagonist and this one is no exception. However, the third installment goes overboard and almost risks panda overdose. The roles are reversed here as Po must assume the role of a teacher in order to fulfill the prophecy of the old turtle, Master Oogway
Plot-wise, Kung Fu Panda is as conformist as can be. It deserves credit for being briefly enjoyable despite this. After losing their way in the second part, the team of writers of Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Burger manage to weave an interesting tale once again, only to falter once again. Visually, the film is satisfying and is aided by a serene soundtrack. A bunch of new characters are introduced, none of whom leave any sort of a mark.
The climactic battle — on which hinges the ability of a movie to deliver a satisfying conclusion — is a downer and has all the intensity of the action in the Home Alone series. The action becomes too cartoonish, even by animated movie standards. Unless the writers come up with something truly exceptional, this is a franchise that should be left alone for a while atleast. All in all, if possible, we would recommend watching the first half of the film and wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of a nap during the second half.