After the success of 2011’s Kung Fu Panda 2, it’s no shock that panda Po (Black) and his karate-kicking pals are back for a third instalment – but what is a surprise is that Kung Fu Panda 3 is as good as the last movie, if not better.
This time around, Po – reunited with his biological father Li (Cranston) – has to fight a new enemy, a fearsome supernatural bull named Kai (Simmons) who is intent on stealing the ‘chi’ (lifeforce) from all the kung fu masters (parents of young children should note that he’s a pretty scary dude – see note below). Once Kai has defeated all of them, he can move from the spirit realm to the mortal world and hunt down the one creature destined to stand in his way – Po, the dragon warrior. And the only way Po can win the fight is if he gets in touch with his own chi, which leads him to the secret mountain village home of pandas.
As with the previous movies, Kung Fu Panda 3 skilfully mixes action and adventure with infectious laughs (one of the running gags centres on the pandas’ legendary appetites, with Po finally realising his full eating potential when he puts down his chopsticks after realising his fellow pandas don’t eat dumplings one at a time).
And while Po’s pals Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu) Crane (David Cross) and Mantis (Seth Rogen) don’t get as much screen time this time around, we do get some adorable father/son moments, comic relief from Po’s adoptive goose dad (James Hong) and even an amorous panda in the form of Mei Mei (Hudson).
Once again beautifully animated, this is a terrific return for everyone’s favourite panda – fun, endearing and exciting, and, just like Po, utterly loveable.
Is Kung Fu Panda 3 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Children under the age of eight may find the villain, Kai, very frightening. He steals the ‘chi’ of his enemies and it appears his victims have died. Also, the scenes in which he appears are darker than the rest of the movie, giving a sinister feel.
An early scene in the spirit world when Kai is set free may also scare younger viewers.