KUNG FU PANDA 3

★★★

THE POWER OF PO

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
21st March 2016

Dreamworks Animation may be the poor man’s Pixar, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to deliver the goods. Dreamworks does trump Pixar in one regard: it gives the people what they want - sequels! - and lots of 'em. And we don’t have to wait 10+ years between drinks either. *cough* ‘Toy Story’ *cough* ...Sorry there must be something caught in my throat... *cough* ‘Finding Nemo’.

The tale of Po, the gluttonous Panda turned gluttonous Dragon Warrior has only taken eight years, with the trilogy finally coming to completion, and tied together nicely with a story about family.

SWITCH: 'KUNG FU PANDA 3' TRAILER

Po’s (Jack Black) world is rocked when Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) retires, leaving Po in charge. Overwhelmed with his new teaching duties, things don’t go so well - but all of that is quickly put aside when new foe, Kai (J.K. Simmons), enters the mortal realm looking for vengeance and Po’s long lost father Li (Bryan Cranston) enters the picture. Po is sent off with his father to learn the way of the Panda so he can harness his Chi to defeat Kai, a being capturing others' Chi to boost his power and wreak havoc. But to master Chi you first have to know yourself, so how is a panda raised by a goose, who grew up to become the Dragon Warrior supposed to do that!?

This time around, the real focus is film's themes of family and sense of self.

This series has always been applauded for its stunning animation, stylised sequences and landscapes that are in keeping with its Chinese and martial arts origins. ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ is no exception, only now, they’ve had two previous films to master the look and we the audience are reaping the benefits. This time around, the real focus is film's themes of family and sense of self. This may be a little light and fluffy (just like a panda, except for the light part) but it works, in true Dreamworks style. Po learns what it is to be a panda, then as a result he learns what it is to be Po, complete with friends and a mixed bag of family. It’s a beautiful sentiment and is shared with the other characters.

I saw this film with my three-year-old niece and two-year-old nephew. The nephew fell asleep after 15 minutes (he didn’t enjoy his 3D glasses very much) while the niece was perfectly content with talking animals and a big box of popcorn. I’d trust the girl’s opinion over the boy’s.

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