Fresh on the heels of Disney’s Zootopia, DreamWorks has released it’s own top tier animation, Kung Fu Panda 3, officially deeming June 2016 to be one heck of a month for family friendly animated films. But does Po have enough in him to keep his audience entertained for a third adventure?
The Dragon Warrior has come to the valley, and he has saved them from bandits and legendary warriors alike, all while bringing us laughter and teaching us the valuable lessons of the kung fu warriors. This time, however, a distraction in the form of his long lost father’s appearance may prove to be enough of a handicap for a certain legendary bovine to carry out his dastardly deeds.
The dangerous Kai (voiced by JK Simmons) has returned from the spirit realm, after having spent hundreds of years obtaining the Chi of the most famous masters. His plan is to use this energy to instill life into the jade forms of these masters, and send these “Joombies” (Jade zombies) out into the valley and establish is territory.
Our hero Po (Jack Black) faces his biggest enemy yet, in the form of self doubt and his need to know who he really is, by attempting to learn more about his past, but his present soon steps in and forces him to react, and react he does. In typical Dragon Warrior style, the battles escalate to epic proportions and only one warrior will remain standing at the end.
Kung Fu Panda 3 may have a fairly repetitive premise (a big bad guy comes to take over the valley while Po tries to define who he is), but it never feels that way. The formula of a friendly and funny Dragon Warrior leading a pack of true kung fu warriors into battle against an array of deadly critters is still entertaining to watch, and the jokes still land from time to time (although I may be “skadooshed” out at this point). Children will no doubt love this film as much as they did the first two as well.
If you are a fan of the series up to this point, you will know whether you are interested in another dive into the valley or not. This movie is unlikely to change any minds on the series, but is a solid addition that in no way feels like a money grab or anything as simple as checking off another Kung Fu Panda movie off the list.
The Kung Fu Panda movies have always looked absolutely gorgeous on blu-ray. The first one was basically the reference disc for anyone wanting to show off the format to friends. Kung Fu Panda 3 carries on this tradition. While it may not be as technically impressive as a 4K offering, it definitely shows just how far our CG technology has come over the years. Watching the films in order will give you a good step through time, and you can see very clearly how much more expertise is going into these films over the course of the series. Individual hairs and the most elaborate of sparks and glows all pop off the screen in dazzling styles and colors. This is a beautiful looking disc.
While the Kung Fu Panda movies aren’t famous for their audio, they do have some of the more fun track out there. Lots of kung fu excitement with an array of different weapons and animals zipping across the scene make for a lot of use of surround channels. The clarity and distinct differences in the sound is impressive, and truly adds to the adventure. The bass is a bit light here, so the subwoofer won’t be getting quite as much of a workout, but I’d rather see under use than over use when it comes to the booms. Overall this is a fun one to listen to.
The Features & Packaging 4/5
Kung Fu Panda 3 comes in a good looking glossy slipcover that is bright and vibrant and stands out on the shelf. Under the slip is the sleeve with matching art in a two-disc eco amaray case which houses the blu-ray and DVD discs, UV/iTunes code, a paper toy for kids, and an advertisement slip. The discs both feature really nice looking art, which is always a plus.
Impressively enough, there are a good deal many features in this set, including new shorts, some of which are turned into a fun karaoke game, featurettes on pandas, the origin of the phrase “Skadoosh”, deleted scenes, trailers, sneak peaks, and music videos from other DreamWorks pictures. These offerings are diverse and highly entertaining, especially for younger viewers, and are a welcome addition.
All said and done, this blu-ray packs a healthy supply of content that is both family friendly and entertaining, making this a great pickup for sure.
Fans of the series know what to expect with this one, and it delivers on it’s promise of providing more Po adventures in the valley. All of the voice acting talent has returned, and JK Simmons perfectly fits the new coming baddie. If you are on the fence or haven’t liked the Kung Fu Panda movies in the past, maybe give it a rent before buying.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.