Po and co are back to face their greatest challenge yet – Pandas!
The Kung Fu Panda series operates like some kind of extra special treat. With only three films since 2008, it’s a little bit of confectionary that comes long when you least expct it. and the same is true of the third entry in the series.
There’s something special about these movies and I think it comes from their unique combination of elements. It starts with an utterly gorgeous art style with heavy Eastern influences that sets its apart from most animated films. Then there’s the ready humour and enthusiasm which Jack Black brings to the central role, and the extra edge of drama and emotional weight which the stories bring, dealing with themes of family and friendship and love.
Mix all of this together and you already have a potent brew, needing only one extra ingredient to make marvellous movie magic. And that’s the action. Seriously, the Kung Fu Panda movies have some of the best action set pieces in Western cinema, much better than most so-called action movies and a far cry from anything else in the animated sphere.
And this magical mix continues with the new film, as Po (Black) gets the chance to reunite with his father (Bryan Cranston) and discover his panda heritage. It’s an enjoyable ride with a great baddie voiced by J.K. Simmons and a huge final fight that serves the story and also envelopes us in the ass-kicking.
It might not quite reach the emotional heights of the second film, or have a single set piece greater than Tai Lung escape in 2008’s original but it remains keenly honed entertainment and one of the few places where Jack Black’s endless energy doesn’t come off as too annoying.
So what are you waiting for? Grab the kids (though there’s plenty for adults as well) and go enjoy what’s bound to be one of the best animated films of the year complete with laughs, emotions, stunning visuals and ass-kicking. All the good stuff.