In this third film of the series, Po (Jack Black) is reunited with his long-lost father and must overcome self-doubt and transition from student to teacher to defeat a powerful supernatural villain. Along the way, lessons are imparted about the importance of teamwork and finding one's personal goals and talents in life. The animation is top-notch, there is humor throughout, some key martial arts aspects are touched upon, and the story is far more interesting than its predecessor. But it lacks the freshness of the first film and has a certain dullness to the storytelling.
One of the main themes of the film is finding your goal in life and what it is you are good at and using that for the greater social good. The animation is top-notch, most especially in details such as water and fast movements. The screen is essentially splashed with color throughout making for a visually appealing feast.
A major sequence involves Po rising to the occasion to teach his fellow pandas how to fight. The violence is cartoonish and the main theme is teamwork and finding one's goal in life. From very young to very old, Po encourages his fellow pandas to find their particular talents that they can contribute to the fight to save the world from the villain.
The main characters treat each other with respect and even love (except of course for the heroes versus the villain) maybe even to the point of the film feeling rather soft and boring. The conflict between the main characters that drive much of the plot of the first film is completely missing here. One scene involves a flirtatious female panda but the adult nature of the humor is kept in check. It borders on adult but refrains from going there.
Many children will be familiar with the first two films and enjoy spending time again with the main character Po (voiced by Jack Black). They may enjoy the story line of Po being reunited with his father after many years. However, the film (as in the previous one) touches on the loss of the mother and that may be distressing to very young children. Also, this film, like Kung Fu Panda 2, is just not that funny. The first one was far superior to either sequel. The visuals are exciting and there are some good action sequences. There are humorous bits throughout without the humor going too adult. While adults may find it occasionally dull, children should be entertained and amused throughout.
Reviewed by Michael F, KIDS FIRST! juror.Kung Fu Panda 3 is a great film with excellent animation, a great villain and hilarious humor. My favorite dumpling-loving panda is back. I liked this movie because it was a lot of fun and it still has a captivating plot even though it's a sequel. I also really like the new villain. He was so evil and greedy, it made me want to SKIDOOSH! him so bad.
As you can see, I am a big fan of this franchise and I promise you this latest installment does not disappoint. Kung Fu Panda 3 is about Po figuring out who he wants to be and adapting to a lot of changes in his life. As the movie begins, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) tells Po that next to being the Dragon Warrior, it will be Po's job to teach the Furious Five. Before Po can learn how to be a teacher, he meets his long-lost father Li (Bryan Cranston). Their celebration is cut short by the arrival of Kai (J.K Simmons), the villain who is stealing the energy of Kung Fu masters from all over the land and who wants to destroy Po. To fight back, Po has to learn to master being a panda after he finds out pandas have special powers that might be able to help defeat Kai.
The lesson of this film is figure out who want you to be and then be your best self, even if you have to try new things you don't know how to do. Po has to try to figure out how to live like a panda and become a teacher by trying things he's not good at.
It's nice to see the original characters back and it's hard to pick a villain as a favorite character, but Kai is an excellent bad guy that I love to hate. He is surprisingly funny while being Po's most formidable foe so far.
I love the animation because it uses a lot of different styles. There is a lot of detail. It's very colorful and the animators use Chinese calligraphy and other cultural symbols to give the movie's setting an authentic feeling. I also really enjoyed the score by Hans Zimmer because it has a lot of energy that goes perfectly with the high-action scenes.
I recommend this film for ages 4 to 12 because there are some scary scenes that may upset younger viewers. Adults will also enjoy this film. I give Kung Fu Panda 3 four out of five stars.
Reviewed by Benjamin P., age 10.
In the third installment of the popular family film series Kung Fu Panda, you will find yourself on an emotional roller coaster, with just enough action, comedy and love to go around.
Large and adorable panda Po (Jack Black) realizes he has a lot to learn if he wants to surpass his next obstacle from his role-model instructor. During this long, adventurous process, he finds himself reunited with his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston). Po must find a way to morph into the teacher he was always destined to be. With help from his new panda family, the martial-arts masters come together to fight the envious and malevolent Kai (J.K. Simmons), a warrior who came back from the spirit realm, in order to steal everyone's chi.
I have always been a kid at heart but watching this film truly made me feel like it was my first time ever watching Kung Fu Panda in the movie theater. Since it brought back a ton of memories, I couldn't help but notice all of the fantastic, quality changes the film has gone through. This has always been a great series from the start, but this movie takes the gold when it comes down to storyline and visual effects. There is no doubt in my mind that the creative directors and graphic designers behind this film spent tons and tons of hours developing such amazing oriental scenes within this movie. Every single color, movement, saying or setting in this film truly embodies what Kung Fu Pand" is all about, which makes the meaning and experience for an avid movie-goer all the more understanding and worthwhile. Because of the sincere storyline, it will hit home to lots of viewers and family members. One thing I do wish I had the opportunity to see more of are the famous and Furious Five (voiced by Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie, David Cross, and Seth Rogen) and Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) in action altogether, especially when attempting to defeat the evil Kai.
Ultimately, Kung Fu Panda 3 is a hilarious and charming film for everyone in the family to enjoy. Whether it's moving you to tears from laughter or gloominess, you'll find it hard not to smile with satisfaction when the credits begin rolling. This movie is rated PG for its martial arts action and some mild rude humor, so I think this will be just perfect for kids ages 5 to 18. I rate this film 4.5 out of 5 five stars.
Reviewed by Michelle C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
This film rocks! It holds nothing back as it is full of adventures that are fun and full of heart. This third film of the awesome Kung Fu Panda series has us once again rooting for the most loveable Panda, Po. Watching Po in this movie is like watching myself because of his endless enthusiasm and passion for life which is just like me! He's silly, funny and clumsy and still able to save the day!
We find Po battling a villain, discovering his true father and discovering his true self. The villain, Kai, wants to take the chi from all the great Kung Fu masters so he can become the most powerful grand master of the world. Kai will stop at nothing and the only possible way to defeat him is Po. Po must channel his inner chi and confidence to stop Kai.
Part of Po's adventure is set in Panda Village where the student must learn how to become the teacher. For the first time Po meets other pandas. He changes this panda community and they also change him. Also, with the help of his mentor Shifu and the Furious Five, Po learns what it is to overcome challenges and become his own hero. At the heart of the story is the lesson that what is important in life is to become the best you can be. Po finally realizes this.
My favorite part of this film is when Po meets his real dad, Li. This occurs in his adoptive father's restaurant when Li breaks Po's dumpling eating record. This is both a touching and yet hilarious scene as everyone in the restaurant realizes that they are father and son except them.
While all the voices are amazing and perfectly match the characters I really like Jack Black's voice as Po. I really can't think of any other actor's voice better for this role than Jack's. Po's look, personality and most importantly his soul is just totally Jack Black. I also love J. K. Simmons who voices the villain, Kai. His voice is so perfectly evil yet it also has this lack of confidence in it that can make you giggle at times. For instance, Kai considers himself very special and famous but when he escapes the Spirit World and arrives on earth he finds that no one has ever even heard of him.
There are many wonderful and positive messages in this film. One of my favorites message is that you have to believe in yourself and never give up. Another beautiful message from the film is that you are not alone in this world and that family is important. However, the message that stands out in my mind is when Shifu tells Po: "If you only do what you can you will only be what you are." This means a lot to me because I think everyone is special and we all have something very special to offer and bring to the world.
Reviewed by Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 8