#REVIEW: “KUNG FU PANDA 3”
Things are peaceful for our beloved kung fu-fighting panda Po (Jack Black) until one day his estranged father Li (Bryan Cranston) shows up and turns his world upside down. Determined to bring him back to a secret land of pandas to reconnect Po with his heritage, his adopted dumpling-making goose father suddenly becomes threatened. Meanwhile, being named successor dragon warrior to Oogway (Randall Kim), who was banished to a life in the spiritual realm by Kai (J.K. Simmons), Po learns that the slighted yak is out to avenge a betrayal by Oogway. He has his sights set on stealing the qi (energy) of the threatening Po and all his friends. Without a clue how to harness his own qi, Po is tasked with having to protect not only himself but all his friends old and new against this dangerous predator.
Directed by Alessandro Carloni and a returning Jennifer Yuh, Kung Fu Panda 3 is an absolute visual and emotional triumph. On the surface it is cute playful animals doing martial arts, eating dumplings and rolling down hills, but on a deeper layer it explores deep Chinese philosophy, mythology and familial relations in a non-nuclear setting. Despite perhaps getting tangled in the philosophy and mythology and maybe a bit rushed to wrap things up late, we cannot deny our love for this third installment in a massively successful franchise. This dare we say, is the best installment to date.
Admittedly, the brilliant Supporting Cast is savagely-underutilized including the likes of Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu and Angelina Jolie. Front and center though is a phenomenal performance once again by Jack Black and together with Bryan Cranston, they carry the Film with a brilliant father-son chemistry that transcends the fact that we only see them in voice. Kate Hudson as ribbon-dancing panda Mei Mei, is a pure scene stealer as the confident and outre version of Lucy from Peanuts, but in panda form of course – sassy, pushy and smitten with our hero, Po.
At a time when diversity in Hollywood is much on our minds, this entire franchise is a smartly-crafted response to the matter. 20th Century Fox Canada release on Friday, January 29, 2016 KUNG FU PANDA, an absolute uplifting must-see at that time of year we need a true pick-me-up!
Some snaps from the Toronto Premiere of KUNG FU PANDA 3: