Review: Kung Fu Panda 3 Holds Kid Attention Better Than Adults
Title: Kung Fu Panda 3
Director: Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh
Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger
Principal Cast: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, and Lucy Lui
Summary: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.
In the days before I saw Kung Fu Panda 3 I spent a good portion of my time trying to remember if I’ve seen the previous two movies. The fact that I couldn’t remember should say everything I feel about the series because I’m almost positive I’ve seen at least the first one. Since I still can’t remember a single thing about the first two movies I decided to look at Kung Fu Panda 3 as an outsider to the series. I wanted to see if this movie could capture my interest enough that I would go back and want to watch the rest of the series.
Kung Fu Panda 3 might have an impressive voice cast but with odd pacing and jokes that don’t always land I often found myself as antsy as the kids it is geared toward.
As I said I can’t remember anything about the previous movies so I don’t hold whether I liked them or not against this one. Perhaps that’s not a good thing since the question becomes whether or not a sequel can stand up on its own. This is one where I’m not entirely sure that it does. As I said this movie boasts an all star cast but it feels like a lot of them are wasted. Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan, Lucky Lui, and David Cross more or less “exit” the movie fairly quickly with Angelina Jolie’s Tigress being the only one who sticks around for an extended amount of time. The movie hits the ground running and has a lot to stay about found families versus family linked by blood but I feel like all of that subtext is going to go over the heads of the intended audience. It feels like it is more there for the adults in the group while the food gags and slapstick are there for the kids.
As an adult, however, I just wasn’t an engaged as I wanted to be. I kept drifting in and out of the plotline without feeling like I was able to focus. This seemed to surprise me because I was in a packed theater with tons of kids around me and they seemed to be very taken in. This might be because I don’t have a lot of investment in the series but it didn’t make me want to go back and watch the other two movies. The voice cast does a very good job with J.K. Simmons clearly having a ton of fun being our villain with a surprisingly dark evil plan for a kids movie. Jack Black is being his most Jack Black in his performance but this series was built off of his performance so I can’t say that I’m surprised. The rest of the cast is good when they are given something to do but that is few and far between.
Kung Fu Panda 3 is not a bad movie but I wasn’t having as much fun as everyone else in the audience. It isn’t offensive enough for righteous indignation or good enough for me to sing its praises. It was just an “okay” animated movie that will hold the attention of the kids in the audience for its runtime and be entertaining enough for the parents as well.