‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ continues film franchise with action, comedy

by SARA MARSHALL/Photo Editor

The fat and lovable Kung Fu fighting panda, is at it again in “Kung Fu Panda 3.”

The “Kung Fu Panda” film franchise took off after the first movie in 2008, and it has expanded rapidly with a sequel, TV spin-offs, action figures and so much more in a short time.

The first movie portrayed a fun concept based around Po, a clumsy panda with huge dreams. The action, comedy and serious moments all mingled well to pull in audiences of all ages to theaters. This humor has carried throughout each of the movie installments, ensuring audiences continue to come back.

The third installment, “Kung Fu Panda 3,” brings Po’s long-lost panda father into the storyline, after hinting at him after the second movie.  After his father reappears in Po’s life, the reunited duo travels to the secret panda village in the mountains to meet Po’s long-lost family of equally clumsy and hilarious pandas. While a new super villain sweeps across China defeating all the Kung Fu masters, Po realizes he must train the other pandas to fight along side him.

With an A-list studded cast, it’s no wonder this film franchise has done so well throughout the years. Jack Black (“School of Rock”) plays the iconic panda, Po, alongside Dustin Hoffman (“Kramer vs. Kramer”) as master Shi Fu, Angelina Jolie (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) as Tigress, David Cross (“Alvin and the Chipmunks”) as Crane, Jackie Chan (“The Forbidden Kingdom”) as Monkey, Lucy Liu (“Elementary”) as Viper, and Seth Rogen (“Neighbors”) as Mantis. Randall Duk Kim (“John Wick”) also came back to voice the much loved character of the late Master Oogway.

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The plot contains unexpected twists and turns, the occasional crude joke that older audiences truly appreciate and talking animals that younger audiences love in animated films. Though this movie is geared much more toward a younger audience, it truly portrays a truly thought-out design which presented all ages a fun and entertaining animated film.

“Kung Fu Panda 3” also has allowed younger movie goers to become exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking. This film portrays the teachings of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, showing audiences the value of acceptance and tolerance.

I thoroughly enjoyed the effort and attention to detail in this movie. The fact that “Kung Fu Panda 3” merges two totally different animation styles into one film blows my mind. With an enormous cast, new characters, fluid animation and new, interesting ways of thinking, “Kung Fu Panda 3” gives audiences the movie they had hoped for.

It has been rumored that this was last installment of the beloved panda series, but the CEO of DreamWorks confirmed last month that this is indeed not the last movie in the franchise. At least three more “Kung Fu Panda” films are planned.

The action, comedy and occasional dirty joke made this movie extremely enjoyable and truly funny. I’m definitely going to marathon the entire series the next chance I get. I would give “Kung Fu Panda 3” 5 out of 5 stars.

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