The dumpling loving panda is back and this time, Po (Jack Black) is all set to get back to his roots. Kung Fu Panda 2 ended with Li Shan (Po’s father) sensing that his son is still alive and they’ve ventured more into this story with Kung Fu Panda 3.
In the spirit realm, Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) fights and loses to an adversary, a yak named Kai (J.K. Simmons), who has defeated other Kung Fu masters and taken their chi (life force). Kai comes to know about the Dragon Warrior Po and decides to defeat him to take his powerful chi. Back in the valley, Po, who is at his very best with Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen) and Crane (David Cross) for company, encounters his long lost father Li (Played by an underrated Bryan Cranston). When Po gets to know that Kai is after him and the only way to defeat him is to learn to use chi, he goes with Li’s advice and heads to the secret panda village to learn chi. How he learns to use it and defeat Kai forms the crux of the story.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed the last installment, has wielded the megaphone once again with Alessandro Carloni co-directing it. Kate Hudson, James Hong and Jean Claude Van Damme are also a part of this film’s star studded cast. Kung Fu Panda franchise is known for its tuneful music and this department is headed by Hans Zimmer along with renowned Asian musicians to give that authentic feel.
With a completely new backdrop and with many new characters, Kung Fu Panda 3 delivers what it is known for and a bit more. With vivid hues and ace animation, the film does justice to its 3D rendition. Editing looks crisp and there’s never a drag moment. Voice casting for an animated flick can never get any better than this but the number of characters are too many to keep track of and the returning characters, whom we’re so used to, have very little screen space. The subtle humor that the franchise is known for, is intact which is sure to entertain children and adults alike. Though they’ve tried to steer away from the usual storyline, what’s offered isn’t new. The essence of its predecessors is visibly missing.
The over-dramatic climax isn’t on par with its antecedent films and even reminds us of other animated flicks such as Open Season. The film doesn’t live up to the high standards set by the previous films from this franchise but still manages to be captivating and fun.