Kung Fu Panda 3 is the third coming of Po, a food-loving panda who is destined to become the dragon warrior but simply can’t believe it. As, three films down and he is still to come to terms with it. This is his charm and his impediment – others have seen his greatness but he wants to stick to what he can do rather than what he is capable of. A little bit like all of us, and telling us that we can own the world only if we could be bothered to strive and believe.
In this profound moral lesson for kids and parents alike, where do dumplings figure? You heard us mention Po loves his food but his relationship with dumplings is on a much deeper level – he uses them as training incentive and ammunition. His adopted dad, the goose Mr Ping (James Hong), uses them as filial reinforcers and his biological father, Li (Bryan Cranston), teaches him that a panda never uses chopsticks while eating dumplings.For why eat one dumpling with chopsticks when you can shovel down four with your paws?
Now that we have got the confession out of the way, here’s taking a stab at Kung Fu Panda’s plot. Po is happy living with his adopted father and training with master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the furious five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross). But like always, the world needs saving. This time the threat comes from a yak from the spirit world, Kai (JK Simmons, having done terrorising Milles Teller in Whiplash, he is up to no good in China).
Kai has got hold of Chi or life force of all the kung fu masters in the spirit world and now uses them as ugly jade zombie warriors. Po, in his camp, has got his newfound real dad Li (a beautifully understated Bryan Cranston), a village full of cute, cuddly pandas and a bucketful of self doubt. Forget about learning the power of Chi and saving world, Po is not even sure if he is a real panda!
This journey of self awareness for Po, his two fathers and even for Shifu is rendered in glorious colour which takes your breath away. The panda village, especially, is a thing of beauty. Its dulcet sunset, its psychedelic burst of colour and its inhabitants will be etched in your memory. Even the spirit world’s yellow-going-on-gold tones are delightfully done. In terms of CGI, Kung Fu Panda 3 is probably the best in the franchise and 3D just adds to the effect. Especially watch out for scenes with split screens.