Film feature by Amaliah S. Marmon-Halm
Back in October 2015, in a rather swanky Soho hotel, the first glimpse of the next Kung Fu Panda was shown. The “weight” was truly over. As this is the third offering in the franchise, Kung Fu Panda 3, due for release on March 11th, has the job of trying to achieve the high notes of KFP1 and not repeating the lows of KFP2.
So where are we now in the story? Time for a slight recap.
Kung Fu Panda burst on to our screens with such awesome energy and introduced us to Po the panda (Jack Black), who works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream becomes a reality when, unexpectedly, he must fulfil an ancient prophecy and study the skills with his idols, the Furious Five (Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie). Po needs all the wisdom, strength and ability he can muster to protect his people from an evil snow leopard.
In Kung Fu Panda 2, now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters. However, a dangerous villain threatens Po's awesome new life with plans to use a secret weapon to wipe out the martial art and conquer China. In order to defeat the new enemy, Po finds he must recall his past and unlock secrets of his mysterious origins; only then will he find the strength to vanquish his foe.
Now, for a third time, Po realises that he has a lot to learn if he's going to fulfil the next challenge from his beloved instructor. After reuniting with his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston), Po must transition from student to teacher and train a group of fun-loving, clumsy pandas to become martial-arts fighters. Together, the kung-fu brethren unite to take on the evil Kai (J.K. Simmons), a supernatural warrior who becomes stronger with each battle.
In what was only a 3 minute clip, Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni wanted to show exactly what sort of fun and action was in store. We saw Po’s latest foe, Kai, showing his might. J. K. Simmons plays the role so well, showing a slightly comedic side for a change. They gave examples of classic animation, as this has become a trend with this franchise, by using classic Chinese art to depict Po’s back story. Yuh Nelson told us that when we watch Kung Fu Panda, no matter if it’s the kung-fu action scenes, the way the pandas behave or the art style, it all must be as authentic as they can. Even the snippet of the unfinished score by Hans Zimmer was absolutely beautiful – he is a master after all. We all had to admit, although most were reluctant, we left rather impressed.
For those who are fan of Dreamworks and the Kung Fu Panda series is sure to have a great time with this one. Maybe, this is case of third time lucky? I’m starting to think so.
Watch the movie trailer for Kung Fu Panda 3 below...