"Kung Fu Panda 3" is the PERFECT conclusion to the "Kung Fu Panda" trilogy.
The first one is my favorite animated movie right up there with "Fantasia" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2". The second one is just as good showing that something that sounds like a cash-grab can lead to a great story-arc.
Let's talk about this one however...
When it comes to storytelling and tone, DreamWorks Animation knows what they're doing whenever they're not making films like Home, Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, Shrek the Third or the upcoming Trolls. Whether it be comedy with heartwarming moments like the first two, this and The Croods or serious stuff with light moments of laughter and emotion like the How to Train Your Dragon movies and Rise of the Guardians. And they know how to let loose and have fun with the likes of the Madagascar and Shrek movies.
With this, there is no other way to wrap up the franchise than with filling the voids left by the last movie where we see that Po's non-goose dad and panda brethren are still alive and Po progressively evolving from Dragon Warrior to Warrior of Black and White to Kung Fu teacher. Not to mention that the humor is as spot on as the other two. Like my favorite scene (and line) is right here...
The storytelling and tone are just what I love about this, the first two and the "How to Train Your Dragon" movies.
Don't get me started on the animation because it is just fascinating making the animation in DreamWorks' movies a major competition against Disney and Pixar. It's got everything (well, almost but you get the idea). Well done Flash animation for some of the action scenes, greater action sequences and even flashbacks from the first two, 90% of it much like last time. It goes to show that DreamWorks knows what they're doing with the animation as well between immersive environments and large scale flying and action scenes from Rise of the Guardians, the Kung Fu Panda trilogy and Dragons 1 & 2 and the cartoon-y zaniness that doesn't go too far from the Madagascar trilogy.
And the characters? Well...
The recurring ones do in fact, go above and beyond their usual selves.
And it's not just the evolution of Po's character talking but also the light-hearted moments with Mr.Ping and Master Shifu passing down the torch to Po. Though I feel that the Furious Five come off as comic reliefs sometimes but they do help out with the plot and have the same charm as the past couple times we've seen them. As for the new characters, there's Mei-Mei (played by Kate Hudson) who despite being a large amount of the promotional material, thankfully doesn't become Po's love interest, Li whom I feel comes off like Valka from How to Train Your Dragon 2 where they both catch up with those lost times with their sons while showing what they've been doing the whole time, but at least they add something new here with the fact that Po now has 2 dads. Last but not least there's the main villain Kai (played by J.K. Simmons whom has been on a roll with voiceover lately from Great Uncle Ford in "Gravity Falls" to this and Mayor Lionheart in "Zootopia"; Kinda makes you wonder what he'll do with Pixar and Blue Sky) whom I'd say is more up to par with Lord Shen from the last movie and Drago Bludvist from 'Dragon 2' (Last comparison to the "How to Train Your Dragon" movies, I swear!) but it's a good thing though because his need for chi provides a great backstory for him and also his connections with Master Oogway. By the way, Master Oogway does appear in the film but I won't say much about it because it would be giving away too much. The people who worked on this movie really went out with a bang taking these characters with them.
I am just so thankful to have started off the new year just right with the end of a great trilogy (but that doesn't mean the people at DreamWorks are going to say goodbye to them entirely). Kung Fu Panda 3 is a remarkable DreamWorks film that's the perfect example of how a sequel let alone a finale to a film series should be made with a heartwarming and beautifully told story, the best animation DreamWorks has ever put out and brightly shinning characters.
If you enjoyed the other two films then this is the biggest one yet. Not to mention that if you need to be shown films by DreamWorks that don't deteriorate to the lowest common denominator then THIS is one of them!
Now, for these reviews I'm gonna do something that I was inspired by Brad Jones' Midnight Screening vlogs to do...
Talk about the previews I saw with this movie. Do note that the movies I'm about to mention may not reflect on what you'll actually see before the film at the theater.
- The Angry Birds Movie: The game itself really is a fad so...I don't really see why this needs to be a movie.
- The Secret Life of Pets: Is anything original anymore? It's just "Toy Story" with pets and scenes from "Bolt" and "All Dogs Go To Heaven" here and there.
- Kubo and the Two Strings: For those who don't know, it's pretty much Studio Ghibli meets "The Book of Life". Although it seems interesting, I may catch it on Netflix.
- Storks: Free Birds' cousin. 'Nuff Said!
- Eddie the Eagle: I usually don't have the time to see those kind of movies due to others coming out, sooooo.......
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: No Thank You! It just makes Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Chipwrecked combined look like "Captain America: Civil War".
- Trolls: I didn't know DreamWorks was wanting to make their own "Fraggle Rock".
Oh! And it's really funny how in 2010 and in 2011 we got both a DreamWorks sequel and a Pixar sequel, and this year the same thing happens again. But, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Probably the best and most exciting one yet though...